Bruges is the capital of the Belgian province of West-Flanders. A lot of people take day-trips from Brussels to Bruges, but there is to much to see here to fill only 1 day. Bruges is always beautiful, in the summertime as well as in the wintertime.
Some attractions you can admire in Bruges are:
Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Our Lady’s Church)
Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk can be seen far outside Bruges, it is the highest tower in the city. The height of the tower is 122 meters. This church is not the most important one on the religious level (St.Salvatorskathedraal is the most important). But the church attracts most visitors because of its medieval character and the important works of art that can be admired here. Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk presents the famous Madonna by Michelangelo and the tombstones of Mary of Burgundy and her father Charles the Bold. The church has been built in different styles like Romanesque, Scheldt-Gothic and French Gothic.
St. Salvatorskathedraal (St. Salvator’s Cathedral)
St. Salvatorskathedraal is the main church of Bruges. It was only a parish church but in 1830 it got the status of a cathedral. The church has undergone quite a lot of changes and it also has been renovated quite a few times. In the St.Salvatorskathedraal you can admire works of art. You can take a look at the beautiful wall tapestries, the St. Salvatorkathedraal also possesses the original paintings that were used as models for the wall tapestries. In the choir a visitor can see the original choir stalls from the 16th century.
The Market square is completely dominated by the cloth hall and the 83 meter high Belfort tower (Belfry). Belfort is one of the symbols of the city. The original cloth hall and tower date from 1240. When you go up the stairs (366 steps) you can get a nice view of the city. Nowadays the visitor can enjoy the lovely music of a carillon, which consists of 47 bells.
Because of its canals Bruges is also called “The Venice of the North”. Although there are some differences. For instance was Venice founded on islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic sea whereas Bruges lies deeper inland. When visiting Bruges you have the possibility to take a guided boat trip. You can see the age-old houses and picturesque bridges from a different perspective. Nowadays no commercial ships sail on the Bruges canals anymore. The canals are now only used for tourist boats. There are five families who are allowed to organize tourist excursions by open boats on the canals. Each family has 4 boats.
Gouden Boom Brewery
The location of the Gouden Boom is in the city centre of Bruges. During the summer months, this historic brewery is open for public tours. Since 1455 there have been people brewing at the present-day location of the Gouden Boom brewery. Jules Vanneste turned the site in a brewery once and for all in 1889. In 1983 the brewery is renamed the Gouden Boom (golden tree). Some of the beers that are brewed are: Brouwer van Brugs Tarwebier, Brugse Tripel and Abdijbier Steenbrugge. You can also visit the malt-house and brewery museum. There you can see among other things like the whole malt process.
For a lot of visitors the Minnewater and its park are the entrance to the city of Bruges. The Minnewater is a canalised lake. It is mostly referred to as “the lake of Love”, because of the surroundings. The surroundings are very idyllic and make it a romantic place. Next to the lake is the Minnewater park. One of the symbols of Bruges is the swan. There are always plenty of swans on and around the Minnewater.
The Groeninge Museum
The Groeninge Museum is also known as “The city museum of Fine Arts”. Some pieces of the collection date from the beginning of the 18th century, but the building itself dates from 1929-1930. The collection in the museum spans several centuries (from the 14th to the 20th century) and its focus is on works by painters who lived and worked in Bruges. A very valuable collection of Flemish masters is the pride of this museum. Among the painters who are represented in the museum are: Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Jan Provoost, Cornelis van Cleve, Jan Antoon Garremijn, Constant Permeke and Roger Raveel.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.