Bruges, a city in Belgium, is known for its rich history and unique blend of old and new architecture. If you find yourself in Bruges, be sure to explore the city’s many historical sites, including the Market, Burg, Walplein, Van Eyck, Porte de Gent, and Garre. These locations offer a glimpse into the past and provide a chance to marvel at the city’s beauty.
Take a leisurely walk through the historic streets and alleyways of Bruges, letting yourself be transported from one location to the next. Whether you are a history buff or simply looking to take in the sights, Bruges is a must-see destination. As you wander through the city’s most picturesque areas, allow yourself to be swept away by the charm and character of Bruges.
Brief History of the City of Bruges
Bruges, located in Belgium, was a major economic and cultural hub in medieval Europe. It became a powerful county seat in Flanders in the 9th century and served as the county’s capital. In the 12th and 15th centuries, the city experienced rapid growth, including the construction of numerous canals, due in part to the opening of the Zwin arm of the Rhine in 1134, which provided the city with direct access to the river.
As a result of its municipal independence, symbolized by its belfry, Bruges developed into a significant maritime, economic, and financial center, connecting countries along the North Sea and Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean. Its affluent merchants traded with clients from all over Europe, and the city was home to the world’s first stock exchange when it opened in the 13th century. In the 15th century, Bruges was the most important financial center in Europe.
The city’s economic prosperity also led to a flourishing of arts and culture, with early Flemish painters revolutionizing Western painting and their works being displayed in museums around the world. However, due to increasing sand deposition in the Zwin River over time, the city eventually lost its port and economic viability, which benefited its neighboring city of Antwerp. After this, Bruges became just another provincial town in Flanders.
It wasn’t until the construction of the massive port of Bruges-Zeebrugge, which is now an important part of the North European Plain, that the city saw further expansion. Despite its prolonged inactivity following the Renaissance, Bruges’ medieval urban fabric and many of its ancient monuments have survived, earning the city the nickname of “sleeping beauty.” It was popularized in the 19th and 20th centuries and became a prized part of European culture.
Bruges As Important UNESCO Heritage Site
Bruges, also known as the “Venice of the North” due to its network of canals that encircle or cut through the old town, is a historic city in Belgium that has undergone extensive renovations and is now open to the public. The renovations were accompanied by the construction of new, high-quality neo-Gothic buildings that bring the local style to life and give the historic center an even more medieval appearance. Bruges has become the most visited city in Belgium due to its popularity with tourists and is also home to the College of Europe.
In 2000, Bruges became a member of the World Heritage Cities Network and its historic core, including a Flemish beguinage and a belfry that is shared by Belgium and France, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s procession of the Holy Blood has also been recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Bruges was named the European Cultural Capital of Culture in 2002, along with Salamanca, Spain.
Virtual Photo Tour of the City of Bruges, Belgium
See some of Bruges’ most beautiful areas in the images below.
What is the best time to visit Bruges, Belgium?
When to go to Bruges for good weather? Here is some information to help you in your decision:
- The best months for good weather in Bruges are June, July, August and September.
- On average, the hottest months are July and August.
- The coldest months are January and February.
- The rainiest months are January, July, August, October, November and December.
- The best months for swimming are August and September.
Location Map of Bruges, Belgium
Video Tour of Bruges City
Enjoy watching this great video of the city of Bruges: