Bruges in Belgium seems like a paradise for a person with an old-school taste. Everything around the town looks likes it is very well-preserved since medieval time. This is thanks to the old canal system that is still functional and well-preserved. Aside from that, the people, the architecture is also noteworthy. Bruges in this time is not that different from Bruges from years ago. All in all, a beatiful city that appreared on a lot of recommended destinations list. You should visit Bruges and see these attractions below soon.
Belfry & Halle
The south side of Bruges’ Markt (the main square) is dominated by the Halle with the belfry – Bruges’ most distinctive landmark – soaring above it. The Halle was begun in 1248 and twice enlarged, first in the 14th century and then again in the 16th century, and once functioned as the city’s main market place. The building encloses a picturesque courtyard, and the balcony above the entrance was once used by the city fathers to promulgate their statutes to the populace assembled beneath.
The 83-meter-high belfry is one of the finest bell towers in Belgium and is entered from the Halle’s inner courtyard. Construction of the bell tower began in 1282, and the crowning octagonal upper section was finally completed in 1482. Today, a carillon of 47 bells still hang in the tower. For the best view over Bruges, you can climb the 366 steps up to the top of the tower. On the way up, the old Treasure Room where civic documents are kept behind wrought-iron grills can be visited on the second floor.
Basilica of the Holy Blood
The Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilig-Bloedbasiliek) presides over the central plaza known as the Burg. The church is famous for the crystal vial kept inside that is reputed to contain a drop of Christ’s blood brought back from the Holy Land by Dietrich of Alsace in 1149 on his return from the Second Crusade. Each year in May, this sacred relic is carried through the streets of Bruges in the Procession of the Holy Blood. The facade of the basilica with its three Flamboyant-style arches and gilded statues was erected between 1529 and 1534. The basilica itself consists of a Romanesque lower chapel and a late Gothic upper chapel, which houses relics of St. Basil brought from Palestine by Robert II, Count of Flanders. An elegant spiral staircase leads to the upper chapel (built in 1480) where every Friday the vial containing the Holy Blood is brought out and shown to the faithful.
At the very heart of the city is the Markt; Bruges’ bustling main square, surrounded on all sides by fine buildings from a variety of different periods. The eastern side is dominated by the Neo-Gothic Provinciaal Hof building which dates from 1887 and is the seat of the West-Vlaanderen provincial government. On the western side, occupying the left-hand corner, is the attractive brick 15th Century Huis Bouchoute. On the opposite corner stands the Craenenburg where, in 1488, at the instigation of Ghent, the burghers of Bruges kept the future Habsburg Emperor Maximilian imprisoned for 11 weeks. He was freed only after agreeing to respect the authority of the ruling Regency Council and to order the withdrawal of all foreign troops. The best way to admire all this architectural finery is to join the throngs of visitors and locals at one of the Markt’s many cafés and sit for a while soaking up the historic splendour around you.
To be continued…
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