In Bruges – Part Two

Running easterly from the Markt square is a typical Bruges cobbled street, wider than many, it quickly expands to open into the Burg. This much smaller square is surrounded by interesting buildings and was one of the earliest parts of Bruges inhabited. The eye is immediately drawn to the Stadhuuis (Hotel de Ville or Town/City Hall) that is one of, if not the, most impressive examples in Belgium. Built in 1376 the the city to govern the city there are many historically significant documents are on display.

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This building also is home to the extravagant Gothic Hall, with its 19th Century murals and polychrome vault.

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Across the square from the Stradhuuis stood Bruges Cathedral which was torn down during the French Revolution. Next to it, in the corner remains the Basilica of the Holy Blood.

The Eastern flank of the square is occupied by the Bruges Vrijie. The impressive building was once a courthouse and now houses the city’s archive. A passage way back to a bridge over Groneriei canal to the colonnaded Vismarkt  (fish market) is known as the Alley of the Blind Donkey.

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I’ll leave you with another shot I took on my first visit to the Burg. Thanks for stoping by, hope you enjoyed.

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In Bruges – Part One

I haven’t uploaded a blog post for a while; a change in job has kept me busy as I join the ranks of London commuters. I took my first break last week and took the Eurostar to the Belgium city of Bruges.

Bruges is one of the most perfectly preserved medieval cities in Europe. At one point it was a thriving commercial centre and many of the principles of commodity exchange were established here. Goods were shipped in via the Zwinn Channel (‘Golden Inlet’). Around 1500 this began to silt up, restricting trade. It is to this that we owe Bruges’ largely unchanged architecture.

I stayed around 5 minutes to the South East of the ‘Burg’ and the ‘Markt’. On my first day I explored the Markt.

I walked past the empty Vismarkt (19th century colonnaded fish market) and reached the confluence of two canals, the Groenerei and the Dijver. The Belfort in view in the background.

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I walked over the bridge and travelled North the short journey to reach the Markt. The cobbled streets with lined with chocolatiers and cafes selling waffles, all housed in curious medieval shops. In the Markt, preparations for the following weeks Christmas Market, now Bruges’ largest tourist draw, were in full swing. I took this shot of the Belfort over the huts.

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The Belfort Van Brugge (Dutch for Belfry of Bruges). towers over the Markt and was built in three phases between 1240 and 1822. Once knowing this it becomes immediately apparent where each of the three additions start.

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The Eastern side of the square was once flanked by the Waterhall. This massive warehouse covered the canal and allowed goods to be brought in and stored away from the elements with direct access to the square. This was brought down in 1787 and has since between replaced by the Provincial Court (and home to an interactive museum of Bruges). The canal still flows under this building somewhere.

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I’ve included some more views I took of the Markt on my first day. Thanks for stopping by – hope you enjoyed as much as I did.

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