Kortrijk is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders.
It is the capital and largest city of the arrondissement of Kortrijk, which is both a judicial and an administrative arrondissement.
The wider municipality comprises the city of Kortrijk proper and the villages of Aalbeke, Bellegem, Bissegem, Heule, Kooigem, Marke, and Rollegem. Kortrijk is part of the cross-border Eurometropolis Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai, which had 2,155,161 residents in 2008.
The city is situated on the Leie, southwest of Ghent and northeast of Lille in France. In addition, Mouscron in Wallonia is located just south of Kortrijk. Both Kortrijk and Lille are part of the same transnational Eurodistrict urban agglomeration with around 1,900,000 inhabitants. As the biggest city of southern West Flanders, Kortrijk has many schools, hospitals and shopping streets.
thumb of Kortrijk
Kortrijk originated from a Gallo-Roman town, called Cortoriacum at a crossroads near the Leie river and two Roman roads. During the Middle Ages, Kortrijk grew significantly thanks to the flax and wool industry with France and England and became one of the biggest and richest cities in Flanders. The city is often referred to as City of Groeninge or City of the Golden Spurs, referring to the Battle of Courtrai or the Battle of the Golden Spurs which took place on 11 July 1302 on the Fields of Groeninge in Kortrijk. In 1820, the Treaty of Kortrijk was signed, which laid out the current borders between France and Belgium. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, Kortrijk became a center of the flax industry and remains an important region within the Belgian textile industry today.
Today, Kortrijk is the largest city in southern West-Flanders with several hospitals, colleges and a university. Kortrijk was the first city in Belgium with a pedestrian shopping street, called the Korte Steenstraat. Nowadays, a big part of the historical city center is a complete pedestrian area with lots of shops and a covered shopping mall called K, as well as many restaurants and bars. Another shopping mall is located near the northern edge of the city: Ring Shopping Kortrijk Noord.
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