The City of BrugesBruges is the capital and largest city of the Province of West-Flanders, situated in the northwest of the country. The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, Stockholm, it is sometimes referred to as The Venice of the North. Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its Port and was once the chief commercial city in the world.
Bruges is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Its port, Zeebrugge, is an important center for fishing and European trade. The city-center Markt features horse-drawn carriage rides and 17th-century houses converted into restaurants and cafes, as well as the 13th-century belfry with its 47-bell carillon and 83m tower with panoramic views.
In the last half of the 19th century, Bruges became one of the world's first tourist destinations attracting wealthy British and French tourists. After 1965 the original medieval city experienced a renaissance. Restorations of residential and commercial structures, historic monuments, and churches generated a surge in tourism and economic activity in the ancient downtown area. International tourism has boomed, and new efforts have resulted in Bruges being designated European Capital of Culture in 2002. It attracts some 2 million tourists annually.
Some aspects of the City of Bruges:
The Flemish primitivesIn the 15th century – Bruges’ golden century – the fine arts reached their highest form of expression. Famous names such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling came to live and work in the city. Today, you can still admire the magnificent paintings of these world-famous Flemish primitives, standing face to face with masterpieces that were created more than 500 years ago in the very heart of Bruges.
Sint-Salvatorskathedraal (Saint Saviour's Cathedral)Bruges’ oldest parish church (12th–15th century) has amongst its treasures a rood loft with an organ, medieval tombs, Brussels tapestries and a rich collection of Flemish paintings (14th-18th century). The treasure-chamber displays, amongst others, paintings by Dieric Bouts, Hugo van der Goes and other Flemish primitives.
Hansa QuarterFrom the 13th to the 15th century, Bruges was an important trading centre at the crossroads between the Hansa cities of Scandinavia, England and Germany (known collectively in those days as the ‘Easterners’) and the most important commercial regions in France, Spain and Italy. The Spanish traders established themselves at Spaanse Loskaai (Spanish Unloading Quay), while the Easterners set up shops on the Oosterlingenplein (Easterners’ Square). Places where you can still feel the atmosphere of days long gone by.
Jan van EyckpleinStanding in the middle of the square the renowned Bruges painter Jan van Eyck (1370 – 1441) proudly overlooks the domain that wears his name.Still, he has to share the limelight with the square’s alluring style for once this was the old harbor of Bruges where ships loaded and unloaded. Even though fierce traders and rich poorters (citizens with city rights) no longer populate the square, it still holds a captivating appeal. While you’re discovering Jan van Eyck square The little bear of Bruges approvingly looks over your shoulder. Stroll around, admire the pretty facades of the Old Tollhouse, Pijndershuis and Burgher’s Lodge or simply take pleasure in a short break along the canal. Jan van Eyck square is furthermore an ideal gateway to explore the tranquil St.-Anne quarter with its working-class neighbourhoods.
Canals of BrugesExperience the city by following an ageold tradition. Cruising Bruges’ canals – the remarkable city arteries – you will discover secret gardens, picturesque bridges and wonderfully beautiful views. Although it sounds incredible, Bruges’ loveliest places ooze even more charm when you admire them travelling by boat.
RozenhoedkaaiSummer or winter, morning or evening, sun or rain…Rozenhoedkaai has the enthralling ability to always make a stunning impression.It should come as no surprise that this continuous to be one the most photographed spots in Bruges. Here anyone can create his or her picture perfect postcard of Bruges. Rozenhoedkaai’s sophisticated class makes it the ideal location to pause for a moment and together with your loved one enjoy one of Bruges’ most timeless sceneries.
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