Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is one of the most visited medieval cities in the world. In the middle ages, the wealth of waterways made Bruges the world’s “chief commercial city” & was considered to be the wealthiest city in Europe.

Photo Hotspots

Belfort

Burg Square

Grote Markt

Dijver

Provincial Court

Chocolatier Dumon

Duc Du Bourgogne

Wollestraat & Belfry

THe Church Of Our Lady

THe Church Of Our Lady

Blind Ass Alley

Frank Van Acker Memorial

Old Civic Registry

Spinolarei

Jan van Eyck Square

Colour Gallery

The city’s not just known for its beer and chocolate, it is also known for its lace and makes some of the most intricate in the world. It is possible to produce such large quantities of fabric for the lace due to the vast amounts of Flax flowers that are grown in the Flanders region.

ALONG DIJVER

The Dijver is a popular stretch of canal in the center of the old town. The area is a good central meeting place & especially at the weekend a hive of activity due to quite a large flea market along the Rozenhoedkaii.

THE BELFRY

On the Market Square in the center of medieval Bruges stands the 83 m (272 feet) high belfry tower. The tower is also known as the tower of the halls due to the buildings flanking its left, right & rear that was formerly the market hall.

ANCIENT BELL TOWER

The bell tower on Market Square was built in 1240, has 366 steps & is open daily to the public. By the end of the 19th century the tower was equipped with some 48 bells, ranging from 1kg to 5500kg.

GROTE MARKT

The Market Square was renovated in 1995 & made traffic free. Besides the 12th-century belfry and the Provincial Court building the square boasts a large selection of cafes & restaurants where you can sit outside & watch time go by.

PROVINCIAL COURT

The Provincial Court was demolished in 1787 & replaced by a classicist building but after a fire in 1878 was rebuilt in a neo-Gothic style.

NEO-GOTHIC STYLE

The Provincial Court is a main tourist attraction on the central Market Square in Bruges. The present building was rebuilt after a fire in 1887.

PLENTY OF TIME

I found this detail on a house wall next to one of the canals & found it an amusing idea, eccentric.

NIGHT SHOP

Belgium is of course well known for its beer & this shop shows just how popular & diverse the selection is.

COBBLED STREETS

Part of the charm of Belgium generally are the many cobbled streets in the old city centers. Of course for car drivers not so comfortable but most cobbled areas are either with reduced parking possibilities or are completely pedestrianized.

LILIPUT LANE

Dumon, a small Belgian praline producer has one of its shops in this quaint little house on the Eiermarkt (Egg Market).

MOBILE WAFFLE MACHINE

Although a Product of Germany this VW bus as a Waffle & ice-cream van just looks so typical Belgien I think.

CHOCO L’ART

Amazing what people can do with chocolate. I for example like to eat it but for some it is a possibility to craft works of art. I just hope they have a regulated temperature in the store.

PRALINES, TRUFFELS & WAFFLES, YUMMY!

I am glad that I don’t live in Belgium. Why? Well with all that chocolate, waffles, french fries & beer I would be twice the size I am now. Must be hell to resist all of those treats.

PERFECT SETTING

The Provincial Court on Market Square has been car free since the ’90’s making it possible mainly in summer to stage open air events.

HUIDENVETTERSPLEIN

The Duc De Bourgogne is a hotel dating back to 1648 and is located in the heart of Bruges, behind the Town Hall on the Burg and right next to the historical fish market, with a view on the famous Dijver canal.

CHILL OUT ZONE

It doesn’t really matter where you find yourself in Bruges there is absolutely no reason to go hungry with such a diverse number of culinary possibilities.

“Bruges is a beautiful medieval city almost untouched by time. If you like jazz, you will be well catered for. If you like chocolate and beer, you will be in heaven.”

― James Frain

LATE HOUR IN WOLLESTRAAT

The weather was perfect, a relatively warm evening with a dark blue sky with even darker partial cloud coverage. I set up my tripod on Wollestraat, a charming cobbled road that leads to the market place & caught a nice long exposure of one of the few passing cars.

WOLLESTRAAT & BELFORT

Wollestraat has many small shops & this lace shop caught my eye with a nice perspective of the Belfort at the end of the street.

BRIDGE WITH A VIEW

This view from a bridge on the Wollestraat looks along Dijver to the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw, better known as the Church of Our Lady. The statue in the foreground is that of St.John of Nepomuk.

BLUE HOUR ON DIJVER

After the sunset had faded away the blue hour set in & the street lights sprang to life adding a little warmth to the otherwise cool shadows on the canal.

DIJVER CANAL

The Dijver Canal is at the historical heart of the ancient city with many of the main landmarks being within a few minutes walking distance or even better still is to indulge in one of the many boat tours that navigate the canal itself.

NIGHT LIFE

Although relatively small, Bruges has quite an active night life.

BLIND-ASS STREET

No, that isn’t a joke, this narrow lane connecting the town hall to the Civil Registry was named after a custom whereby the local brewers blindfolded donkeys that worked on the treadmill milling the malt for their beer without them becoming dizzy.

BLINDE-EZELSTRAAT

Walking south west along the Steenhouwersdijk shortly before the Dijver you arrive at a bridge on the right that takes you through this quaint little arch to the fish market called Blind-Ass Street. The arch reminded me a little of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

TOP ADDRESSES

Standing on the bridge that leads from the Burg to the fish market with have this view of the canal leading to the Dijver on the left. The white building on the corner is the Duc de Bourgogne Hotel & directly opposite is the Bourgoensch Hof Hotel.

MEMORIAL TO FRANK VAN ACKER

This visit to Bruges was awesome. I have never visited such a pretty town where there is one street as quaint as the next, unspoilt by litter, parked cars or hoards of people everywhere. Maybe I was just lucky on this day. Who cares, I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay.

MAISON DU FRANC II

Behind the rear facade of the Old Civic Registry is the Bruges Townhall & Burg Square to be admired.

OLD CIVIC REGISTRY

Dusk sets in over the centre of medieval Bruges & the buildings along the canal shore of the Steenhouwersdijk are illuminated revealing once more the brick facade of the Oude Civiele Griffie (Old Civic Registry).

CANAL PROMENADE

An evening stroll in Bruges is always worth the effort especially by fine, warm weather as is the case this evening.

A VIEW OF THE PAST

An evening stroll along the warmly lit canals of Bruges was quite a romantic experience although my only companion was my heavy photo rucksack & a tripod but the visual impression of how life was like here in the past diverted my attention from my now sore feet & aching shoulder muscles.

PEACE & TRANQUILITY

The one thing that really took my attention on many occasions was the lack of traffic & overcrowdedness, thus less noise, pollution & rubbish. Bruges is definitely a well kept secret but a definite must for a visit.

EVENING DRAWING IN

The sun has departed leaving the historic cit in shadow. The once busy canals full of tourist traffic has resided to a get extent with many boats already moored & covered for the night reflecting like a mirror image in the static dark water.

“Dead towns are the Cathedrals of Silence. They, too, have their gargoyles, singular figures, exaggerated, dubious, set in high profile. They stand out from the mass of grey, which takes all it has in the way of character, its twitchings of stagnant life from them. Some have been distorted by solitude, others grimace with a directionless fervour; here there are masks of cherished lust, there faces ceaselessly sculpted and furrowed by mysticism. Human gargoyles, the only figures of interest in this monotonous population.”

― Georges Rodenbach, The Bells of Bruges

PROVINCIAL COURT

The Provincial Court one of the city’s most impressive pieces of Architecture stands proud on the Market Place lined by numerous houses, shops, restaurants and overlooked by the medieval Belfry.

MARKET PLACE

The centre piece of Bruges just has to be the Market Place where ample space is available for all that locally produced fruit & veg. Stalls selling handmade lace are also to be admired & there is no need to go hungry with the smell of freshly made Waffles & Pommes Frites fill the air.

THE MEDIEVAL BELFRY

This medieval bell tower on Market Place used to be the treasury & housed the municipal archives & also served as an observation platform warning of fires & other possible danger. Behind the tower is a courtyard flanked by the market hall.

COBBLED STREETS

The cobbled streets isn’t so good for motorists but is maybe one of the main reasons why the city centre has so little traffic. I certainly found these streets add charm to the town adding realism to the rest of the medieval atmosphere.

TIME FOR A STROLL

Bruges offers perfect opportunities to stretch ones legs, especially as here the early evening colours make the effort well worth while.

PERFECT EVENING

Now that the city has become shrouded in darkness & quite a thick cloud cover it is once again time to get the tripod into action & shoot some moody evening footage.

OLD MASTER

Like a scene from an old Flemish landscape painting, this scene shot from a small bridge on the Spinolarei with its soft, warm light & the lack of colourful tourist jackets on the street, no traffic, just a beautiful stone bridge set against a blue sky, lined by well kept houses & a rippled refection of the bridge in the canal, perfect.

FLY BY SKY

This view of the Dijver was done with a long exposure as you can see at a moment where the setting sun just sent the clouds into impressive shades of orange & purple as they pass behind the bell tower on Market Place.

OLDTIMER, OLD TOWN, PERFECT

It isn’t often that I like having cars in my pictures but on the odd occasion a scene does actually profit from one especially when it is an oldtimer like this one here parked perfectly on the bridge overlooking Jan van Eyck Square located at the intersection of Academiestraat, Spiegelrei and Spanjaardstraat.

TRANQUILITY

This visit to Bruges was awesome. I have never visited such a pretty town where there is one street as quaint as the next, unspoilt by litter, parked cars or hoards of people everywhere. Maybe I was just lucky on this day. Who cares, I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay.

Portfolio Index

Complete overview to all categories of my portfolio.

Town & City Index

Discover more travel destinations in the Town & City main index.

|

Did You Know?

The name Bruges derives from Old Dutch. The word meant ‘Bridge’. The city predates the Pre-Roman Gaul Era. Its first fortifications were built by Julius Caesar after the conquest of Menapii in the 1st century BC.

Zion National Park

Heading back towards Vegas I had just enough time for a look at Zion National Park near Springdale in Utah. The short drive through the canyon was scorching hot, almost unbearable but the scenery stunning.

Translate »