This area of medieval Europe, the Belgian city of Bruges in the best sense similar to the scenery for a fairy tale. Multi-colored facades of cozy cottages, pinnacles, countless channels in which peaceful swans, old bridges, towers and Gothic churches – the town, miraculously survived the horrors of the world wars, did not lost its former charm. A huge number of elaborately decorated old buildings and monuments vividly demonstrates the magnificent past of this city.
Bruges is the most important city of the Belgian province of West Flanders, and in spite of its modest scale, it plays a significant role in the life of the country. The population today is about Bruges 117 000 people, while the city is visited by about 2 million tourists a year. Today, the tourist business is here, perhaps, the main source of income.
The name Bruges is translated from the Norman means “pier, harbor.” In the Middle Ages, this town on the North Sea coast was indeed one of the largest seaports and a major center of commerce, but today this role is relegated to second place. The modern port operates now outside the city, and the Bruges “moved away” from the coast at 16 kilometers.
The face of the city in the last century has not changed – Brugge managed to preserve intact its graceful medieval beauty. Quiet cobblestone streets, leisurely for channels, countless bizarre carved facades of houses, ancient temples and churches – have in all of this is something illusory and dreamlike, and the city as if painted on a canvas with a brush of a great artist.
Many cities have informal nickname “Venice of the North”, and Bruges – one of them. Three large channel – Ostendsky, Sleyssky and Ghent – are fused together, making the city even more beautiful. Once these channels there were large ships, but today there is mainly float pleasure boats and small boats locals.
After Brussels and Antwerp to Bruges can be easily reached from the other major European cities such as Paris (2.5 hours) or Amsterdam (4 hours). Train Station is only 1.5 kilometers from the center.
The city has many cafes and restaurants ready to offer visitors a wide range of first-class dishes. Traditional dishes are considered poultry (roasted pheasant or partridge), roast eel and rabbit stew. Accompany your meal will be an excellent Belgian beer – brewed in the country a few hundred varieties of the drink.
The main attraction for foodies in Bruges is certainly chocolate – no wonder since the city is the birthplace of the praline and perhaps chocolate capital of the world. Here it is one of the largest museums in Europe chocolate, confectionery and many a sweet tooth can buy a souvenir of Bruges cute chocolate figures.
And in Bruges every year the festival “Chocolate Life”, whose members are showing their skills, trying to surprise the audience with unusual chocolate sophisticated experiments.
What to see in Bruges
Bruges on the device resembles the majority of medieval towns – in terms of it is oval in shape and is divided network of winding streets and canals. In the city center – two areas, there are all the major attractions. This part of the city you can walk around in just a half an hour, however, it is not necessary to hurry – Bruges not like rush, here at every turn you can wait for something amazing, interesting and beautiful.
Start your observation of the city is probably best with the Grote Markt (Market Square). Here is one of the most recognizable landmarks of the city – Veche tower Belford, received special prominence after the movie “In Bruges.” Tower height – 83 meters, and overcoming the stairs of 366 steps, you can enjoy sweeping views of the city and the whole of Flanders.
Not far from the Grote Markt is another central area of the city – the area of Burg. There are many beautiful historic buildings, including the magnificent City Hall, built in 1376-1421, respectively, and was recognized as one of the most beautiful in Belgium.
Near the town hall is the main religious landmark Bruges – Basilica of the Holy Blood of Christ. In this small chapel is kept the greatest holy relic of Bruges – a vessel containing a few drops of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Be sure to pay attention to the Church of Our Lady (Notre Dame) – its bell tower at 122 meters has become one of the symbols of Bruges. The church contains a beautiful sculpture of Michelangelo’s “Virgin and Child” (“Madonna of Bruges”).
Worth a visit and famous “Trio” Bruges museums – the Museum of Chocolate, Diamond Museum and the Museum of fries. In the first you can see the interesting process of making the best Belgian chocolate and personally enjoy the taste of this wonderful delicacy. The museum diamonds on special workshops can observe the process of polishing diamonds and a unique museum of fries with wine and all the details tell the story of this popular dish.
Always worth a ride along the winding canals of Bruges on a pleasure boat – a great opportunity to evaluate the city from a new angle, to get acquainted with the history of the city and see places that can not be reached by land.