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Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, Bruges, Belgium. Author Tony Grist. No Copyright
Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, Bruges, Belgium. Author Tony Grist

Bruges tourist attractions: what to see in Bruges

The city of Bruges is a wonderful example of medieval old town perfectly preserved until today, thanks to this, in 2000 the historic medieval centre of Bruges has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, UNESCO has also entered in its list of Beffrois of Belgium and France, the Belfort Brugge, and in its list of Flemish Béguinages the Bruges Béguinage.

The city is a frequented tourist destination, it can safely be visited on foot, for its small size, are also interesting alternative to visit it with the boat, or carriage tours. Famous for its beautiful monuments and its urban structure, the old town (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) has oval form and is intersected by numerous channels, and for this Bruges is often called the Venice of Belgium.

Its historic center still keeps the four gates of the 1326 walls, a number of old buildings, and is the most prestigious and best preserved of Belgium. The city centre is formed by the market squares, Markt and the Burg, the Markt is dominated by Belfort (the clock tower, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO), 83 meters high, home of the museum Bruggemuseum-Belfort, on the square is also the Provinciaal Hof, in the neo-Gothic (1887-1921), former headquarters of the provincial government of West Flanders, in the middle of Markt is the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter De Coninck, heroes of Anti-French resistance in 1302, around the square are the splendid facades of houses of the Guilds.

Bruges (Brugge), Belgium. Author Elke Wetzig. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

Bruges (Brugge), Belgium. Author Elke Wetzig

A short distance from the Markt is the ancient square Burg, which reaches along the Breidelstraat, on the square facing the Basilica of the Sacred Blood (Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed) contains a relic of the Sacred Blood of Jesus, transported in Bruges probably after the sacking of Constantinople (1204) at the time of the Fourth Crusade, on the ground floor there is the chapel of St. Basil (1139-1149) in Romanesque style, while in the second floor of the chapel, in neo-Gothic style, it’s kept the sacred relic.

In Burg is the Stadhuis (town hall), built between 1376 and 1420, home of Bruggemuseum Stadhuis, it contains the famous Gothic Room (Gotische Zaal) with sumptuous mural paintings of the nineteenth century and polychrome wooden ceiling.

Interestingly Renaissance palace (1534-1537) is the Voormalige Civiele Griffie (home of the old memories), the ancient seat of the Court of Justice and now the municipal archives and the museum Brugse Vrije where you visit the Renaissance Room (Renaissancezaal) with a monumental fireplace 1529, designed by Lanceloot Blondeel. In Burg is also the Proosdij (Propositura), an old baroque residence (1665-66) of the Proposed old Cathedral of Sint-Donaas, the cathedral was destroyed in 1799.

Near the Burg square is the Fish Market, a 1821 building, open from Tuesday to Saturday from 6.00 to 13.00. Just behind is Rozenhoedkaai, one of the most photographed places in Bruges. The Onthaalkerk Onze Lieve Vrouw (Church of Our Lady), is home to a rich collection of objects of art, including the famous “Madonna and Child” by Michelangelo, and the mausoleum of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. The St.-Salvatorskathedraal (Cathedral of St. Saviour) is the oldest church in Bruges, dates back to 12th-15th century, inside are the choir with the seventeenth century organ, tapestries and several paintings, in addition to the cathedral museum. The Begijnhof (Beghinaggio, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) founded in 1245, presents the everyday life of the past. The brewery “Brouwerij De Halve Maan” founded in 1546. There are numerous events and vocal music, festivals, antique fairs, historic processions as that of Holy Blood (St.-Sang, held the first Monday of May), hosted in this beautiful city.

Around Bruges (Brugge), you can visit the town of Damme, the ancient port of Bruges, with many historic buildings, and today known for libraries and the book fair.


Bruges, Belgium. Author Richardfabi. No Copyright

Bruges, Belgium. Author Richardfabi

Several and interesting are the museums of this city in particular the group of historical museums called Bruggemuseum, they are six museums in six different locations in historic homes and buildings in the city centre: Bruggemuseum-Archeologie, archaeological museum; Bruggemuseum-Belfort, allows visiting the clock tower, 83 meters high, from the top of which has a wonderful view of the city, on the second floor of the tower is the Treasury room, now a museum; Bruggemuseum-Brugse Vrije in this museum you visit the Renaissance Chamber with a monumental fireplace of the sixteenth century; Bruggemuseum-Gentpoort.

Bruggemuseum-Gruuthuse, interesting museum in a patrician home in the city, in addition to the rooms and halls of the house it presents a collection of ancient art, sculpture, furniture, silver and metal objects, ceramics, textiles, coins and musical instruments.

Bruggemuseum-Onthaalkerk OLV, this is the church of Our Lady, which has a brick towers of the highest of Belgium (122 metres), the church has a rich collection of Art objects, including the famous “Madonna con il Bambino” (Madonna with the Child) by Michelangelo, the great chorus, the mausoleum of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold and some noble tombs.

Bruggemuseum-Stadhuis, the Municipality of Bruges was built in 1376 and is one of the oldest of Flanders, inside to admire the Gothic Room with sumptuous mural paintings of the nineteenth century and polychrome ceiling.

Artistic Works of the 15th-21th can be found in the two museums Arents House and Groeningemuseum, particularly in the Groeningemuseum is exposed a collection of Flemish Primitives, as well as Renaissance and Baroque paintings, with masterpieces by Jan Van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes, Hans Memling and Gerard David. In Forum + [Concertgebouw], are held exhibitions of contemporary art.

Another series of museums is that of the old hospitals Hospitaalmuseums the museum located in the hospital in Sint-Jan, Memling in Sint-Jan, one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, presents an opportunity to understand how operated a hospital in the Middle Ages (shelter for the sick but also for the pilgrims), the museum also hosts in the hospital chapel, six works by Hans Memling.

OLV-b-Potterieits, is a historic hospital complex dated between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, it houses a beautiful baroque church and collections of paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries and silver work. Another section of the Bruges Museums are those dedicated to folklore: Koeleweimolen, windmill for grinding grain of 1765 still working. Sint-Janshuismolen, windmill for grinding grain of 1770 still working. Guido Gezelle Museum is the home of the Flemish writer Guido Gezelle. Other museums in the city are: Begijnhuisje reconstructs the life of the inhabitants of Bruges in the past. Choco-Story museum dedicated to chocolate. Diamantmuseum, the Museum of Diamonds. Brugge Engels Klooster, the English convent. Heilig-Bloedbasiliek, Basilica of the Sacred Blood containing the relic of the Holy Blood and the relic museum. Jeruzalemkerk, fifteenth century church on the forms of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Lumina Domestica (lampenmuseum), a museum dedicated to the history of illumination from the flashlight to the LED. Ter Doest (Lissewege), an ancient Cistercian abbey of the twelfth century. Volkssterrenwacht Beisbroek, public astronomical observatory and planetarium.

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