Maastricht's beating heart is called the Vrijthof. Around this large square sit scores of heritage buildings, but there is also a theater and of course ample bars and restaurants to care to the thirsty.
Long before it became a square, the Vrijthof
was a cemetery along the main paved Roman road to Cologne.
The signature building is the Basilica of St Servatius with a crypt that holds the remains of the good Saint. Other constructions are the gothic church of St John, the Military Guard House and the General's House, now turned into a museum and theater.
The scenic St Servaas footbridge over the Meuse is said to be the country's oldest stone bridge. It replaced an old wooden Roman bridge that collapsed in 1275 during a crowded procession, killing scores of faithfuls.
The Markt is Maastricht's other major square with in its center the characteristic town hall from 1664. Once used for executions, today the square is lined with bars and restaurants that cater to the many visitors.
We strolled through the lively city center of Maastricht on a sunny September day in 2021.