Fabulous Bruges seems to be torn out of the usual flow of time. Here there is a feeling of unreality and the revived past. The Middle Ages materializes in amazing Flemish Gothic houses, Romanesque quarters and ancient churches. In Bruges, costumed theatrical processions and festivals are often held, during which the townspeople dress up in traditional costumes.
The historic center of Bruges is under the protection of UNESCO, as it has completely preserved its architectural appearance. Cute "gingerbread" town houses are wrapped in ivy, the facades are decorated with weather vanes, and an unusually calm and peaceful atmosphere reigns on the streets. From time immemorial, Bruges has been brewing delicious beer and making excellent chocolate, so a tourist will also find gastronomic pleasures here.
What to see and where to go in Bruges?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
The central square of Bruges, on which since the Middle Ages all the most important city organizations have been located: the court, the mayor's office, the post office, the shopping malls. Now the square is decorated with magnificent buildings in the Flemish Gothic style, houses of trade guilds with emblems, monuments to famous citizens. Every Wednesday there is a wound on the square, and in winter a smart Christmas market opens.
The tower of the XIII-XV centuries, symbolizing the desire of the inhabitants of Bruges for independence and freedom. The building reaches a height of 83 meters, at the top there is a bell tower, consisting of 49 bells. In past centuries, the tower served as a watchtower, since it was easy to see the enemy approaching the city from it. Inside are stored ancient letters confirming the rights and freedoms of residents.
Bruges town hall
The town hall is located on the central square Burg. The building was erected at the end of the 13th - beginning of the 14th century in the Flemish Gothic style. The architectural features of the building are repeated in the town halls of other Belgian cities: Leuven, Ghent, Brussels. Burg Square itself is the ancient center of Bruges, where the first Flemish count built his fortified castle. The area is surrounded by historical buildings of different eras and architectural styles.
De Halve Maan Brewery
Belgium is famous for its brewing traditions. Located in the heart of the city, De Halve Maan Brewery was founded in the 16th century, but the building that has survived to this day dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Here they make beer according to the traditional Belgian recipe - with a sour taste, cloudy and with a short shelf life. "De Halve" is a small family business and produces its own beers.
An art gallery founded at the beginning of the 18th century by members of a free society of artists. The museum houses a priceless collection of Flemish masters: Jan van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes, Hans Memling, Rogier van der Weyden and others. In separate rooms there are paintings by Renaissance and Baroque masters, as well as works by artists of the 19th century. The Groeninge Museum is one of the most interesting in Bruges.
Once upon a time, a Belgian pharmacist created a unique cough medicine. He turned out bitter chocolate, and since then the history of this delicacy began. Bruges is often called the chocolate capital of Belgium. At the Choco Story Museum, you can see the entire history of the local chocolate industry and taste the most incredible and unusual varieties of goodies. The museum exhibits hundreds of chocolate sculptures in a variety of colors and shapes.
St. John's Hospital
The oldest hospital in Europe, organized by monks to treat the poor and pilgrims. It is located in a building of severe and powerful medieval architecture. In the Middle Ages, this hospital was the largest medical institution in the entire region. The hospital chapel houses the Memling Museum, which houses the works of the famous and skilled craftsman Hans Memling, created by him at the request of the monks.
A museum that exhibits rich collections of sculptures, furniture, dishes, tapestries, ceramics and other decor items of past centuries. The exposition of the museum covers several historical periods. It is located in a 15th-century building owned by the aristocratic Van Gruuthus family. The collection began to form in the middle of the 19th century, it included many exhibits from the private collection of the family. The museum is closed for restoration until 2018.
Basilica of the Holy Blood of Christ
The basilica was originally a chapel built in the 12th century to store pieces of sheep's wool with traces of the blood of Christ. These relics were brought from the Crusade and given to the Flemish Count Diederik van de Alsace. Medieval Romanesque and later Gothic styles met in the architecture of the basilica. The relics of St. Basil, the great Byzantine preacher, are kept in the temple.
Church of Our Lady
Bruges Cathedral, crowned with a 122-meter bell tower. This graceful 15th century tower is a recognizable symbol of the city. Inside the temple is one of the greatest works of art of the Renaissance - the statue of Our Lady and Child by Michelangelo. The remains of the last Burgundian duke Charles the Bold and his daughter Mary are buried in the church.
An ancient temple of the 15th century, which has survived to our times in almost unchanged form. The interior decoration also survived five centuries. The church is a copy of the Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was built by brothers from the noble Adorn family after their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Inside is a part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified and several other significant relics. The church still belongs to the descendants of the Adorn family.
Cathedral of Saint Salvador
The main city cathedral. Its history began in the 10th century with a small parish church. The brick building of the temple was erected in the XIII-XIV centuries. From the outside, the cathedral seems gloomy and gloomy. However, this impression is compensated by the rich interior decoration. Over the centuries, the temple was subjected to minor damage, but he managed to maintain its original appearance thanks to careful reconstruction.
A commune like a monastery, where single women found shelter. But they did not take vows of celibacy and could leave the beguinage at any time. Similar associations were common in the XIII century. Courtyard of the Beguine Society in Bruges. St. Elizabeth occupies an entire block. It was founded in the first half of the 13th century, but most of the buildings date back to the 17th-18th centuries. The predominant architectural style of the complex is Baroque.
Lake of Love
A lake of amazing beauty, surrounded by lush flowering vegetation and romantic medieval buildings. People come here to relax, enjoy the silence and special atmosphere. There are magnificent swans in the lake, which have been bred since the 15th century by order of the former ruler of Flanders, the Austrian Emperor Maximilian. The ruler and his descendants are long gone, and beautiful birds still adorn this place.
Canals of Bruges
City canals are not only an attraction that gives Bruges a picturesque look, although walking along them is quite popular with tourists. Canals act as transport arteries. For many centuries, goods were delivered to the city through them and transport links were conducted. Without the network of canals, Bruges would look more gloomy and harsh, and with them, the city claims to be the next “Venice of the North”.