Surrounding Grote Markt, a square in the center of Antwerp, is a row of guild houses initially built around 1580. During the Middle Ages, each trade of merchants in the Low Countries of Belgium and the Netherlands strove to create their own unique and impressive hall to reflect their success. Typically, the ornate facades had their coat of arms and a gilded statue on top. The originals were significantly damaged in a 1576 fire while others were destroyed during WWII. These historic landmarks were faithfully reconstructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries.