In Delft, the Netherlands, the Nieuwe Kerk church tower is reflected in a large directional compass in the center of Market Square.
If you saw the film Girl with a Pearl Earring, you may remember that Griet - the character played by American actress Scarlett Johannson - paused for a moment on this spot, then walked in the direction of the Nieuwe Kerk. Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's home was on the street opposite the church.
The church's tower was restored, after a lightning strike on May 3rd, 1536. The resulting blaze destroyed the tower, organ, bells and stained glass windows. Wind spread flames to hundreds of timber homes and businesses west of the church. On October 12th, 1654 a gunpowder explosion razed parts of the city.
The ornate Town Hall, also seen in Girl with a Pearl Earring's opening moments. The film was based on a book by Tracy Chevalier. The original Girl with a Pearl Earring painting (1665) is at Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague.
The Town Hall at dusk.
This building is on the Oude Langedijk, directly across the street from the church. It stands on the site of Johannes Vermeer's home. Vermeer lived and worked in Delft all his life (1632 - 1675). His paintings often depicted people going about their daily lives. An image of one of my favourites, The Little Street, is part of the online Google Art Project.
The church tower is reflected in the windows of the same building.
The church tower at night.
Across the market square is Vermeer Centrum, a museum dedicated to Johannes Vermeer's life and work. The building is on the site of the Guild of Saint Luke, a trade association for painters, of which Vermeer was a member. Curiously, not a single original Vermeer painting remains in Delft, although several are displayed at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
A stone plaque marking Johannes Vermeer's final resting place in the Protestant Oude Kerk. Built in 1240, it is the oldest church in Delft.
The church's design features raditional arches and 27 stained-glass windows, as well as the sculpted pulpit from 1548.
Detail of a 19th-century hand-carved walnut pulpit, featuring the acanthus leaf.
Joep Nicolas made 25 of the church's 27 historical windows. After his death, a relative completed the last two vitrines.
The church's brick exterior.
An arched passage.
Oude Kerk's leaning bell tower.
The leaning tower long has been the subject of debate among Delft residents, concerned about its structural engineering and stability.