Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
Manhattan, New York
January 11, 2002
Burg was the site of the fortress of the early Counts of Flanders. It became the seat of town government - as witnessed most spectacularly in the Stadhuis, or Town Hall. Built between 1376 and 1420, the Stadhuis has an amazing decorated Gothic ceiling.
The Belfry (13th and 15th century) at the old city center is widely considered Belgium's finest, with a carillon that has rung out the quarter hour for nearly seven and a half centuries. Undoubtedly the most enjoyable way to visit Bruges is to amble along its cobbled streets, glide by boat along its tranquil canals and discover a city that time has forgotten.
To the left of the Stadhuis when viewed from the square, an archway spans the narrow path leading to the canal behind; in the far left corner of the square is the entrance to the 'Liberty of Bruges', a set of buildings owned by the authorities who controlled the area outside the city itself ('liberty' meaning free lands). The Aldermen's Room inside this building has a monumental Renaissance chimneypiece from the 1530's. A bizarre but spectacular sight, it is worth seeing for its amazing Flemish carving: it shows Emperor Charles V, flanked on each side by his grandparents - Ferdinand & Isabella on the right, Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria on the left (Charles' parents are restricted to small portrait medallions behind the figure of Charles himself!).
From journal BRUGES -- Cultural Capitol of Europe 2002
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
May 3, 2004
Towering over the space on the south side is the Belfort (Bell tower). Apparently it offers an unparalleled view of the city, if you’re willing to take the 366 steps to get up there. I was more than willing to try the steps, but the line to get in was long, and, frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to wait. Around the other sides of the square are the facades of a number of 17th-century gabled houses (now mostly cafes and souvenir shops), and the Provinciaal Hof, the site of the local government of West Flanders (and not open to the public).
The major attraction of the Markt (for me, at least) were the two mobile frituur vans that stood in front of the Belfort. Both did a very ‘healthy’ trade in frites with mayonnaise, although you could get almost any sauce you could imagine. I found the frites at these vans to be amongst the best I tasted in Belgium – I think it was the mayonnaise. I ate a lot of Belgian frites and would definitely have to agree with the general opinion that they are a superior chip. Apparently it’s all due to the choice of potato, their cut, and the fact they are actually fried twice to make sure they are extra crispy. No wonder I came home with fat cravings.
From journal Easter in Bruges
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
November 8, 2003
The original Belfort-Hallen dates from 1240 though it has undergone rebuilding. Like other Belgium cities the belfry tower preserved the city's important documents. Inside hung bells, each bell having a distinct sound and role (for example: bells for danger, bells for important announcements and bells to announce the time). Nowadays, the Belfry tower charms the visitor with the pleasant music of a carillon, which consists of 47 bells.
The covered market and courtyard would have been crammed with traders shouting orders, the air heavy with the smell of spices. Originally a canal below the covered market allowed direct shipment into the market.
In the centre of the Market stands the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck--local heroes. They took part in the Flemish 1302 uprising against the occupation by the French king--known as the Battle of the Golden Spurs. This battle was also the central theme of the book 'De Leeuw van Vlaanderen' (the lion of Flanders) written by Hendrik Conscience in 1838. He romanticized the Flemish uprising and it became a symbol of the Flemish movement, which fought for recognition of the Dutch language, and Flemish culture in the French-language dominated Belgium of the 19th century.
On the Northern side of the Market is the Provincial Hof. It stands on the site were the medieval cloth halls used to stand. This was a covered hall where ships could unload their cargos for storage in the halls or for sale on the market next door. The Provincial Hof is the best example of Bruges’ renovation in neo-gothic style. After demolishing the cloth halls in 1787 houses in classicist style replaced them. In 1850 the provincial government bought the complex, enlarged it, and made it the seat of the provincial government. Members of the catholic and traditionalist political parties demanded more suitable building 'for the beautiful gothic Bruges'. In 1878 a fire conveniently destroyed the building. Different groups took their chance to have it rebuilt in neo-gothic style, the 'house'-style of the catholic party.
On the left side of the Provincial Hof is now the house of the Governor of the Province of West-Flanders. The red-brick building on the right side is the Post Office of Bruges.
Restaurants occupy the other sides of the market and shops located in former private houses as well as in guild houses.
Finally, on the Southern side of the Market stand several medieval-looking houses. Many are modern reconstructions of the medieval styles.
Now stroll down Breidelstraat in the southwest corner of the Markt to the 'Burg' square--administrative heart of the city and a showcase of European architectural styles.
From journal Bruges - a reawakened medieval city
Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
September 12, 2002
As I saw Bruges’ beautiful heart again, my initial disappointment at the sight of further building work in the square itself dissipated the moment I saw the leaning Bell Tower. I had quite forgotten about the 1-metre lean at the top, but the looming magnificence of the tower was otherwise just as I had always remembered it. This being the middle of November the tower, which is usually open from 9:30am until 5pm, was due to open at the later time of 2pm.
With unwanted time on my hands before I could climb the 366 narrow, winding steps, I decided to explore the rest of the Markt before ascending the tower. Standing in front of the Bell Tower, the main Post Office and the Provincial Government building are on your right, with gabled buildings housing bars and restaurants in front and to your left. In the center, surrounded by scaffolding and tarpaulin, is a grand monument to the heroes of the Bruges Matins- a revolt in 1302 against repressive laws passed by the puppet governor of the French King, the ironically named Philip the Fair-Pieter de Coninck and Jan Breydel. Beautiful.
Breidelstraat runs just to the right of the Post Office along to the Burg. Passing the shortest road in Bruges, De Garre, on the right hand side of the street, the first thing you see upon entering one of the finest medieval squares in Europe is yet more scaffolding. Thankfully, however, the building work is confined to the Paleis Van het Brugse Vrije (the Freemen of Bruges’ Mansion), a Neo-Classical building now housing the city’s main tourist office. To be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with the Tourist Information offices in the city, finding them to be bare and somewhat lacking in terms of literature.
The rest of the Burg is awesome: the Stadhuis (Town Hall) and the Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed (Basilica of the Holy Blood) have spectacular facades, richly decorated and managing to at once contrast and complement one another. I could have stood here for hours, but hearing "Time’s winged chariot hurrying near" (apologies to Andrew Marvell) I decided to head for the canal boats-Bruges is known as the ‘Venice of the North’ after all.
From journal Magical Bruges
Victoria, British Columbia
February 20, 2001
From journal Breathtaking Bruges
by wanderer 2005
August 18, 2005
Today, the official languages of Belgium are Flemish and French. Without the battle, the language would only be French. The Belgians wanted to keep the right to speak their native tongue.
There are also a couple bars/pubs named after the duo around town, one of which is located at the Sofitel hotel.
From journal Medieval Brugge
Northern Va Suburbs of DC, Virginia
January 15, 2001
From journal Rainy day in Brugge
London, England, United Kingdom
June 16, 2012
From journal Belgium