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Burg Square - The old centre of Bruges is an architectural gem — a small, intimate square surrounded by historic buildings, each one offering something of fascination. Market Square Markt - The beating heart of Bruges, dominated by a high bell tower and artfully lit at night.
It is the focal point of Bruges, and is the site of a large market on Wednesday mornings, and a small Christmas market with an ice rink in December. Belfry Tower Belfort - For a breathtaking view over Bruges' medieval streets, climb the steps to the top of the Belfort.
Manneken-Pis - No one knows why this tiny bronze statue of a boy peeing a jet of water has become such a cherished symbol of Brussels, but it has. Canal near the Steenhouwersdijk Groenerei - Just south of the Burg is one of the prettiest stretches of canal, where calm waters reflect the medieval bridges and skyline.
Here, the Steenhouwersdijk stonemason's embankment becomes the Groenerei green canal and is flanked by a picturesque almshouse called De Pelikaan, dated and named after the symbol of Christian charity, the pelican. The Canals of Bruges by the Rozenhoedkaai - This slender quay provides an exquisite view of the Belfort.
The site which is so special that it is almost impossible not to take a photo. Basilica of the Holy Blood Heilig Bloed Basiliek - The city's most important shrine, home to the revered Holy Blood relic, reputedly washed from the body of the crucified Christ. Groeninge Museum Groeningemuseum and Memlingmuseum - Not only is this one of the great north European collections, with star roles played by the late medieval masters of Flemish painting, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling; it is also refreshingly small.
Visitors are advised to use the excellent audio guides available with the entry ticket. Gruuthusemuseum - If it is hard to picture quite how life was led during Bruges' past, this museum will do much to fill in the gaps.
It presents a rich collection of everyday artifacts from the homes of the merchant classes, from kitchenware to musical instruments.
Beguinage Begijnhof - Extraordinarily picturesque huddle of whitewashed houses which was once home to a self-contained community of unmarried women.
This beautiful enclave, home to a community of beguines from until , expresses something essential about the soul of Bruges.
Around the tree-shaded park are the 17th and 18th-century whitewashed homes of the beguines. You can visit the grounds, the beguinage church and one of the houses. Lake of Love Minnewater - An exceptionally romantic lake which attracts canoodlers by the score. Have some relaxing time on one of the benches along the lake. What are some interesting facts about Bruges? Getting around - The center of Bruges is compact and filled with pedestrian-only streets, which makes walking the best way to get around.
Wear good walking shoes, though, because those charming cobblestones can be hard going. And watch out for bikes. Public transport - The most enjoyable way to explore Bruges is on foot, and the centre is certainly compact — and flat — enough to make this an easy proposition. The city does, however, have an excellent public transport system, with fast and frequent buses running to its every suburban nook and cranny, while boats offer an enjoyable way of exploring the city's canals.
Buses - Bruges has an excellent network of local bus services, shuttling round the centre and the suburbs from the main bus and train station. City layout - Bruges has two hearts, the side-by-side monumental squares called the Markt and the Burg. Here in , the fugitive English king Edward IV took shelter. The original "heren" were merchants with a monopoly on the trade in dried herbs gruut.
Part of the mansion is now home to the exceptional Gruuthusemuseum, which holds a superb collection of antiques and applied art occupying 22 rooms.
Particularly eye-catching are the lacework, carvings, tapestries, and weaponry, also the delightfully restored and completely authentic old Flemish kitchen and the dispensary. The Brangwyn Museum, in the 18th century Arentshuis next door to the Gruuthusemuseum, has porcelains, pewter ware, ceramics, mother-of-pearl ware, and a charming collection of views of old Bruges as well as an exhibition of paintings and drawings by the Bruges-born English artist Frank Brangwyn Originally founded in the 10th century, most parts of the present building date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
The fortress-like meter-high west tower was constructed in several phases, the lower Romanesque portion between and and the brick section between and Over the centuries, the cathedral has survived four fires as well as the iconoclastic fury.
The meter-long interior contains some noteworthy furnishings. Especially outstanding are the Baroque rood-screen with a figure of God the Father by Artus Quellin the Younger, the 15th-century choir stalls embellished with the coats of arms of Knights of the Golden Fleece and, above the stalls, Brussels tapestries made in Just off the right transept is the cathedral museum, which holds some priceless art treasures.
To get to Bruges' Markt from here, take the Steenstraat with its row of typical Bruges gable gildehuizen that have made it renowned as one of the city's prettiest streets.
Gifts from the dukes of Burgundy, whose palace was nearby, transformed the 13th- to 15th-century church from its relatively modest beginnings to its present size. The richly ornamented interior contains a number of fine 16th to 18th-century paintings by local artists as well as some interesting tombs. Among the latter, to the right of the choir, is the twin-tiered tomb of Ferry de Gros a treasurer of the Order of the Golden Fleece who died in The Adorne family, who built the church, had made a Holy Land pilgrimage and built this church upon their return.
Visitors should note the exceedingly fine stained glass window work of the church, which dates from the 15th and 16th centuries and should also make sure they see the copy of Christ's tomb a replica of the one in the Holy Sepulchre while here. On the exterior, the Jeruzalemkerk is most noted for its tower, which is distinctly different from other church spires in Belgium because of its oriental influences.
Address: Peperstraat, Bruges Where to Stay in Bruges for Sightseeing Bruges' medieval town center is easy to explore on foot, and the best place to stay is within walking distance of the Markt, the city's main square, dominated by the massive Halle and its famous belfry.
Other easy-to-get-to attractions from your old town accommodations include the Burg, home to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the city's many wonderful old canals.
The following hotels are highly-recommended: Luxury Hotels: Minutes away from the Markt, Hotel Prinsenhof Bruges is beautifully furnished throughout and is a tourist favorite for its intimacy and quiet rooms, some with canal views.
For those wanting to stay in one of the city's older buildings, try the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce , with its medieval exterior, antique furniture, and oak beamed-rooms overlooking a canal.
Beautifully decorated and intimate, the eco-friendly Hotel Fevery offers canal-view rooms some with balconies and the kind of comfort usually only found in luxury hotels.
Equally charming, Adornes offers free bike rentals in addition to its beautiful, oak-beamed rooms. Also worth looking at are Hotel de Goezeput , in a well-preserved 18th-century building with exposed beams and cozy rooms, and the charming Hotel Van Eyck , with a number of rooms large enough for families.