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It is always lively at the main market square of Bruges

City view of Bruges

The city hall of Bruges

The horse and carriage is a great way to get around

The almshouses are tranquil havens

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Beautiful Bruges

 

Walking in the historic centre of Bruges makes you feel like you stepped into a time machine and got out in the Middle Ages. The 14th Century centre is almost completely preserved and even has parts dating back to the 13th Century. The narrow streets, the beautiful market, horses and carriages still passing by gives a great understanding of what life must have been like in those days. No wonder UNESCO proclaimed Bruges’ centre as world heritage site!   

Together with neighboring city Ghent, Bruges was the centre of medieval life in Belgium. It got this position due to its strategic location on the sea. It was an important harbor. Trade was the foundation of Bruges’ wealth, which in the 14th Century even attracted the Burgundian monarchy that picked Bruges as its residence.

The wealth of those days provides us with a large number of architectural highlights. An impressive market square, a magnificent city hall, and the Belfort building, the medieval business centre. And then the almshouses. These little houses where once built for charity, but are now tranquil havens with beautiful gardens.        

Art was of high importance in the Middle Ages and that’s why the Bruges nobles supported the artists so much. Today, this artistic movement is known as the ‘Flemish Primitives’ and Bruges offers the biggest number of paintings from that era to be found anywhere. The most important piece is ‘The Madonna with canon Joris van der Pael’ by Jan van Eyck (1436). It can be found in the Groeningemuseum.    

Just as astonishing as the medieval heritage is the gastronomic culture of Bruges. The city is the self-proclaimed capital of chocolate, and for good reasons. Bruges offers no less than 49 artisanal chocolate makers. A must try is the local chocolate ‘Brugsch Swaentje’. The recipe is a secret, but trying them is for everyone. If you are a chocolate lover, go to Bruges in November: that’s when the chocolate festival Choco-Laté is on. Bruges also has a long history when it comes to making cheeses, beers and cakes. In town, you will find a large number of specialized shops offering these beautiful products.

Bruges centre is not big, so you can easily get around by foot. Another great way to get around is by horse and carriage. You can find them at the main market square.