An introduction to Bruges

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A lot of excursions are scheduled during the All Quiet training of this summer. Of course we will not reveal everything, but we can already confirm that we will visit Bruges. Bruges is one of the most famous Belgian city abroad, but for those of you that don’t know the city so well, we’ll give a short introduction to the city, including an introduction to some attractions.

Bruges is the capital of West Flanders, the only Belgian province which borders the coast. The city is sometimes called Venice of the North, referring to the large number of canals and bridges that you can find in the city. Another surname is the city of Breydel, which in his turn is a reference to Jan Breydel, a 13th century freedom fighter. There is a statue of him at the Market Place of Bruges and the biggest football stadium of the city is named after him.

Bruges is popular among tourists from all over the world, especially because of his historic city centre, which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Historic Centre is so well protected that it seems like you’re flashed back to the Middle Ages, even if a lot of buildings have been restored or rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style in the 19th century. A popular way to visit the medieval part of the city is a carriage tour.

If you are in the Historic Centre, it certainly pays to enter the Basilica of the Holy Blood. As it happens, the Blood Chapel of this basilica is well known for preserving a relic of the Holy Blood.  According to the legend, Joseph of Arimathea wiped blood from the body of Christ after his Crucifixion. During the Second Crusade, king of Jerusalem Baldwin III would have given the blood to his brother-in-law, Count of Flanders Diederik van de Elzas. The Count arrived in Bruges in 1150 and placed the blood in a chapel on Burg Square. Around that chapel was later built the Basilica. Many other chapels have been added to the Basilica, which now gives a beautiful result, but the whole basilica is named after the Holy Blood.

It’s also worth to visit the visit the nearby Beguinage Ten Wijngarde, which is the only preserved beguinage of Bruges. The Beguinage was founded in 1245 by Margaret II, Countess of Flanders. For many years it was occupied by Beguines, but nowadays the Beguinage is only inhabited by Benedictines. Besides the beguinage museum with paintings and sculptures, you can also visit the beautiful garden besides the monastery.

In addition to all this historical museums and religious buildings, Bruges houses modern museums as well. The Beer Museum, the Chocolate Museum and the Fries Museum are a nice way to discover the Belgian culinary specialties. And if you’re lucky, you may even taste…