on July 19, 2012
From the outside the Church of Our Lady is one of the most impressive looking churches I have ever seen purely from an aesthetic viewpoint. The building is absolutely stunning and I spent ages just admiring the façade of it. The church was started in the 13th century and completed in the 15 century and today is famous for having the tallest brick built spire in the world at 381 feet high. The tower of the church was actually one of the things we used as a guide while exploring Bruges as it could be seen from nearly every part of the city so if we got lost we just headed in its direction to find our way back to our hotel. As well as just being a beautiful building it also has some gorgeous grounds which are like something straight out of medieval times (if you ignore the throngs of tourists everywhere). It is especially stunning at night when it and the grounds are all lit up and it really is picture postcard perfect. Bizarrely when we were visiting the city they had an outdoor art exhibit going on with art works dotted all over the city and just outside the church they had a sculpture of a plane which was made to look as if it had crashed into the ground. It was quite bizarre seeing this plane in the grounds of this old church but I actually liked the juxtaposition of the old and the new. I would have been quite happy just to have admired the outside of the building but as I am a history buff and love the architecture inside old churches and cathedrals we decided to venture inside and have a look. Now I am not religious but you couldn’t fail to be impressed with the inside of the church as it is almost as stunning as the outside. The atmosphere inside the church is really serene and although I have seen much more lavishly decorated churches this one had a really special feel to it. The stain glass windows were wonderful and the church has another claim to fame in that it has the only original Michelangelo statue to leave Rome in his life time. The Madonna and child statue is worth seeing but it isn’t the most impressive of his statues so don’t be expecting it to rival some of the ones in Rome. The altar is a more a piece of art than anything and I loved looking around at the statues adorning the walls and marvelling at the level of workmanship that it must have taken to get the church to look like it does. There are also two sarcophaguses of Mary of Burgundy and her father Charles which are really beautiful though slightly eerie to look at. There is quite a lot to see in the church and I would recommend that you give yourself enough time to really appreciate everything and take it all in. The church isn’t free to go round but at only 4 Euros it is a small price to pay to see all it has to offer. Once you have finished exploring the church make sure and go explore the grounds as for me these were the real highlight of my trip to the church.
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