Bruges Journals

Bruges - a reawakened medieval city

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An October 2003 trip to Bruges by Drever

Hotel De Pauw Photo, Bruges, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Bruges, the capital of West Flanders, is now Belgium's most popular tourist destination, so book early. The harmonious appearance of the architecture, tranquil canals, your footsteps ringing on the cobblestones while church bells chime and horse's hoofs echo from a nearby street, charm the visitors.

Bruges - a reawakened medieval city

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Overview

A Dutch style Windmill Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
The tide of commercial success ebbed from Bruges when the Zwin silted up. The city drifted into a slumber for centuries. Its discovery by international tourism in the 20th century reawakened it. Run down but with its medieval heritage of Flemish wealth, commercial success, and awesome architecture intact, tourism turned out to be a new source of wealth for the 'Venice of the North'. Ornate guild houses still line ancient streets and canals. Street markets flourish as in previous centuries. Canals empty of commercial shipping now echo to the chatter of tourists taking a pleasure cruise along canals. Bruges, the capital of West Flanders, is now Belgium's most popular tourist destination, so ...Read More

Hotel De Pauw

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Hotel

Hotel De Pauw Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Nestling in a quiet street with a canal a short distance one way and the St Gilleskirk just behind sits the Hotel De Pauw. It is an unimposing building and is similar to the other houses in the street. Despite its pretensions, it is a bed-and-breakfast establishment. We arrived about midday. Pushing the bell button eventually produced a response – from the cleaner. The owners are only there in the morning. After the formality of filling my details in on the obligatory form, I lugged our case up the stair to Room 2. A large bed took up most of the space, leaving just enough space to squeeze past the end. Along one wall, a double wardrobe offered generous space. Also provided were two comfortable...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 8, 2003

Hotel De Pauw
Sint Gilliskerkhof 8-8000 Bruge
Bruges, Belgium
33 71 18/33 41 11

The Burg Square

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Attraction | "The Burg Square - showcase of civic pride"

The Burg Square Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
A stroll down Breidelstraat in the southwest corner of the 'Markt', Bruges largest town square, leads to the 'Burg' square--administrative heart of the city and a showcase of European architectural styles. It was here in the mid-9th century; the Franks had built a palisade surrounded by a moat to protect it against Viking and Norman marauders. This building has long gone together with St. Donation's cathedral, which dated from the mid-10th century. Around the cobbled square now stands an array of monumental buildings spanning the centuries from the 12th to the 19th, with styles from Romanesque to post-modern. The square's stunning gothic town hall (1376) is the oldest in Belgium. Its front facade ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2003

The Burg Square
Near Market Place
Bruges, Belgium

The Burg Square

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Attraction | "The Burg Square - Holy Relics and Beyond"

The Burg Square Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
The main religious building in the city was the St. Donatius Church placed right in the heart of Bruges, opposite the town hall. At the end of the 18th-century French invaders cast out the bishop of Bruges and demolished his bishopric seat, St. Donatius Church. A miniature stone replica of the vanished cathedral stands on the square. The Deanery the former house of the Deans of the St. Donatius church stills stands in the square. The religious significance of the square is now harder to find. However, tucked away in the corner of Burg square, next to the town hall, is the Basilius church and the Chapel of the Holy Blood. Its three-arched façade date from 1534. Its ornate stone carvings and gilde...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2003

The Burg Square
Near Market Place
Bruges, Belgium

The Markt (Market Square)

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Attraction | "The Grote Markt - the great market square"

The Markt (Market Square) Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
The Belfort-Hallen (Bell Tower and Covered Market) dominates the Grote Markt (Market Square). Although not the tower of Pisa, the 83-metre Belfry leans one metre- -disconcerting for those climbing on aching legs its 366 steps. The breathtaking view of makes the climb worth the effort. 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 con...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2003

The Markt (Market Square)
City Center
Bruges, Belgium 8000

Minnewater and the Begijnhof

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Attraction | "The Minnewater and canals"

Minnewater and the Begijnhof Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
'The Venice of the North' is an inapt descriptor for Bruges, just as it is for the many other cities similarly labelled. Venice stands on islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea. Bruges lies inland, although in the last five centuries B.C. the coastline lay closer. When the seas retreated, a sea-arm called the Zwin still connected Bruges with the North Sea. In the Middle Ages enlargement of the waterways to Bruges allowed trading ships to reach the city. Inside the city conversion of the Reie River into a network of canals allowed traders to bring their goods to the large Water Halls at the Market. Selling and storage of goods took place there. In the place of the Water Halls now stands the neo-go...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 8, 2003

Minnewater and the Begijnhof
Minnewater
Bruges, Belgium

Church of our Lady

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Attraction | "Our Lady's Church and famed Madonna"

Church of our Lady Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
The slim brick tower of Our Lady's Church becomes visible long before the huddle of houses when approaching Bruges. It is the highest tower in the city and the world's highest brick tower. More visible than the Belfry in the Markt, it provides a useful navigation point when walking around the city. The church's medieval character and its important works of art attract many visitors. Among these are the Madonna by Michelangelo and the magnificent tombstones of Mary of Burgundy and her father Charles the Bold. Architecturally, the outside is a slightly forbidding hodgepodge of different styles. Already two centuries old when first mentioned in written records in 1089, overtime extensions an...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 8, 2003

Church of our Lady
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerkhof Zuid
Bruges, Belgium
050/34-53-14

St. Salvator Cathedral

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Attraction | "St. Salvator Cathedral -; an English Folly?"

St. Salvator Cathedral Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
The beautifully preserved city of Bruges charms its visitors by its medieval character and canals. However, over several centuries, the buildings have undergone changes and renovations. New buildings have appeared and others vanished. The main religious building in the city was the St. Donatius Church, placed right in the heart of Bruges, opposite the town hall. At the end of the 18th century, French invaders cast out the bishop of Bruges and demolished his bishopric seat, St. Donatius Church. In 1834, after Belgian independence in 1830, a new bishop took over. An immediate problem arose in that there was no longer a bishopric seat. Covetous eyes fell on the parish church of St. Salvator, which ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 8, 2003

St. Salvator Cathedral
Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium