The MARKT and the BURG

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by gwelkins on January 11, 2002

Markt is the biggest square in Bruges, formerly home to a large Market. The statue in the center is of the heroes of the 1302 uprising against the French: Jan Breydel and Pieter de Cominc. The Cloth Hall and its Belfry were built in the 1200's, the octagonal lantern which forms the top one-third of the Belfry being added in 1486 to give a height of 88 meters (over 280 feet). There are 366 steps to the top - well worth the effort for the view of the superb roofscape. Markt is ringed with many restaurants

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!).

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

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