Belfry (Belfort)

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on May 21, 2011

As we spent New Year's Eve a few days in Bruges, we looked at some sites in the city. So we got on the course, Belfort, I would like to report on today ...

Immediately on the market of Bruges Old Town is the site, which is probably the most striking. With its 83 meter high tower of the Belfort Belfry or can not be overlooked. Such a bell tower is typical of the Flemish towns of the Middle Ages and is a symbol of freedom and wealth The tower is now certainly the landmark of the city of Bruges for there is hardly a tourist souvenir, on which it is not visible.

In the market square at the foot of the belfry there is a bronze image of the tower, which you can feel. There are explanations and a map in Braille, in four languages. Belfort of Bruges was built over several centuries. Thus, the lower part is up to the blunt corner towers dating from the 13th Century and part to the sharp corner towers built in the 14th century erected over it and set the octagonal superstructure, which houses the carillon in the 15th century on top. You can climb the tower to the belfry of the glockenspiel, that is until near the top.

We already knew that, in Belfort is no elevator and you climb the 366 steps required if you want to enjoy the view over the city. The fact that the tower is not disabled, nor recommended for people who are not good on foot, should be clear. On the other hand, this is in most towers from the Middle Ages different and the levels climb belongs somehow to do so. We paid the entrance and then entered through a turnstile. It may namely only a certain number of visitors climb high, so it is not too full. So it is counted when you rise and when you come out again. When we reached the tower clock at 10:30, the crowd was still very low and we did not have to wait.

In the lower part of the Belfry, after a few steps, you come first in the treasury. This is not very spectacular, so we read the information boards, but not for long we were there, but further went up. The stages are designed as a spiral staircase and stone. So you should bring sturdy shoes so you slip and not good at the top and bottom comes again. While the steps to the Treasury are still wide, the narrow spiral staircase really needs to stand and remain common when someone comes to meet. There is a handrail where you can hold on, but if you ascend slowly, it is not necessary to hold on. The stages are not very high - unless you go deep inside - so that progress is relatively easy. However, the steps are sometimes vary, so you are caught even slightly higher or lower level in between. Small children have certainly their efforts.

After about 10 minutes - if you nice and slowly rising - to reach the middle part of the tower, at the height of the 220th Stage. Here is the victory bell. It is a 5200 kg heavy bell that is rung only on special festivals or national holidays. It can again get information panels that can read it while recovering for the further advancement.

Just before the top of the belfry is - after a further 5 to 10 minutes - you can reach the engine room. Here you can the 9,000-pound copper drum admire the carillon. The chimes ring every quarter hour and automatically each time a different tune is played. Only in time of 21 to 7 clock is turned off because of the night. The carillon itself consists of 47 bronze bells weighing together 27 000 kilograms.

During our visit, the carillon was renovated, so you could not see anything that was a pity. This had an impact on the belfry. Normally one has a panoramic view from here. The renovation, however, half of the bell chamber is not accessible and we had only to one side the view. That was us, however, said at the beginning and the price was reduced so as well. However, the buildings are supposed to last only until the autumn of 2010, but in January 2011 were still pending.

In clear weather you have the belfry of an incredibly great views. It is up to 12 kilometers wide, so to the coast, look. We had had no luck with the weather, however, for the sky gray, foggy and we could not see very far. The windows in the belfry are protected with wire, so you can not lean out or throw something down. To take pictures, but the openings are large enough that you can also keep a compact camera. The view must be in good weather, really great, in our case, we see in the pictures that you have a nice overview of the city, but more one sees even then. Still, the climb was worth it, if I would have loved to cast a glance in the other direction.

While we were up, the chimes began, which of course is very loud when you stand next to it. rang out as the first blow, I stopped my ears. I could still hear enough to recognize the melody, but did so at least do not feel me incurring hearing damage. With children, I would make sure not to enter the belfry when the bells ringing. As this happens every quarter of an hour, you can wait for it, yes.

The descent was a little faster, was not as challenging as the climb, but watch out for it must be said that no one walks down the stairs too fast, otherwise you get a slight turning worm. Already on the way down we noticed that wanted to climb since our arrival a few more visitors to the tower, because we were very accommodating many people. So continuous, we had frequent and have someone over. After 15 minutes, but we were back safe and reach the bottom. And warm us was the many stages.

If you come to Bruges should definitely climb the Belfort, because from the tower has a beautiful view over the city. Ideally, you climb up on a clear day, but even in fog and misty weather as we had it, the climb has been worth it. Pity was that the renovation lasted longer than planned and we so enjoyed only a portion of the view. But since this is not always the case, I am willing to deduct any points awarded and full five stars and a recommendation for those who are not afraid of many steps.
Belfry Tower/Belfort of Bruges
Markt Square
Bruges, Belgium

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