Historic Centre of Brugge

Bruges, Belgium

Brugge is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town's identity. As one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe, Brugge developed cultural links to different parts of the world. It is closely associated with the school of Flemish Primitive painting.

Brugge in medieval times was known as a commercial metropolis in the heart of Europe. The city reflects a considerable exchange of influences on the development of art and architecture, particularly in brick Gothic, which is characteristic of northern Europe and the Baltic. This architecture strongly determines the character of the historic centre of the city.

The 11th century city walls marked the boundaries of the medieval city. Although the walls themselves are lost today, they remain clearly visible, emphasized by the four surviving gates, the ramparts and one of the defence water towers. The medieval street pattern, with main roads leading towards the important public squares, has mostly been preserved, as well as the network of canals which, once used for mercantile traffic, played an important role in the development of the city.

In the 15th century, Brugge was the cradle of the Flemish Primitives and a centre of patronage and painting development for artists such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. Many of their works were exported and influenced painting styles all over Europe. Exceptionally important collections have remained in the city until today.

Even after its economic and artistic peak at the end of the Middle Ages, building and urban development continued, although Brugge mostly missed the 19th-century industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many medieval parcels were joined to larger entities and new quarters were also developed. The most striking examples of large scale post-medieval interventions in the historic centre are the urbanization around Coupure (1751-1755), the Zand and the first railway station (1838), the Theatre quarter (1867), the Koningin Elisabethlaan and Gulden Vlieslaan (1897) and the creation of the Guido Gezelle-neighbourhood (1920-1930).

Brugge is characterized by a continuity reflected in the relative harmony of changes. As part of this continuity, the late 19th century renovation of facades introduced a Neo-Gothic style that is particular for Brugge. The Brugge ‘neo’ style of construction and its restoration philosophy became a subject of interest, study and inspiration.Still an active, living city today, Brugge has preserved the architectural and urban structures which document the different phases of its development including the central Market Place with its belfry, the Béguinage, as well as the hospitals, the religious and commercial complexes and the historic urban fabric.



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Markt, Bruges, Belgium
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Founded: 11th century
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Belgium


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

peter howse (12 months ago)
A must visit if you're in Bruges...and definitely if you've seen the movie. Tickets can be bought at the time or in allocated time slots in advance online. The stairs start off reasonably wide but get very narrow the nearer you get to the top. Anyon of a reasonable fitness level will be perfectly fine but don't worry as there are a few zooms on the way up that you can stop at should you need a rest. The views from the top are stunning although there is a wire mesh covering all the openings at the top. If the bell tolls at the top it will.probably make you jump. Overall I'd say it's pretty good value for money
Zee Ley (13 months ago)
A wonderful bell tower that's def hard to miss when in Bruges. The tickets were 12€ per person and worth it. There are about 300 steps to the top and the stairs can be narrow and that's why I wouldn't recommend it to parents bringing up young children however amazing the view.
Animesh Kumar (14 months ago)
A UNESCO world heritage site located in the heart of the city. Absolutely stunning as it stands high in the sky. I could not stop admiring it as I stood for a long moment in the market square. Buying the tickets in advance is absolutely recommended. Unfortunately we could not enter inside because of the long waiting time, but the pictures from other visitors look really promising. Will definitely go to the top in our next visit.
Dan Gates (18 months ago)
Bruges is a wonderful experience, small enough to see most in a day trip from Brussels if you are looking for something to do via one hour train. We also took a 30 minute boat tour that was great, remember to tip your guide as most people don't or won't, a little is better than nothing and they appreciate the gesture.
Ramata Sore (19 months ago)
It is rustic and awesome. There are lots visitors. Better buy your tickets soon to secure your place at your convenience. In addition, while using the machine to buy your tickets just scroll down and check buy otherwise you will be giving up on purchasing the tickets. That said, I enjoyed climbing the 366 steps of the tour. At each level, there is a kind of rest place: view and learn something before moving up. I found that very interesting as I do not need and have to walk up at once the steps. Once, at the top, I appreciated the fact that I spent 14 euros to buy the visit. It was pleasant being in the air and to have another perspective on the city. I Enjoyed.
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