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Bruges

The provincial capital of West Flanders, a medieval city of Bruges, is rightly called the Venice of the North. The whole town is cut along and across with numerous channels. The streets along them are lined up with colorful carved facades that make Bruges look like a gingerbread town. The local craftsmen are willing to embody these houses in chocolate for the tourists to buy such sweet souvenirs.

Nice and hospitable, friendly and romantic, Bruges is a real paradise for lovers, a storehouse of wonders for the curious, and an unforgettable fairy-tale for children and adults. With the deliberate coldness of the British, excessive sociability of the French and the unusual closeness of the Dutch, here you will feel at home. Bruges is one of the best destinations in Belgium. The Old Town, rugged with narrow channels, is a majestic example of urban planning of the late Middle Ages. This small, but quite unusual Belgian town is a real treasure for tourists.

To get acquainted with the sights of Bruges, we should start with the Market Square. The Belford watch tower located here is the symbol of strength and independence for all the citizens of the city. The upper lookout platform of the tower contains 50 unique bells which reproduce their charming tune each hour. The tower is adjoined by the monumental building of the covered market which emerged at about the same time as Belford.

The well-known Vlamingstrat street leads from the Market Square to the "Hanseatic Bruges" which hosts numerous evidences of the period of international trade relations of the city. One of such buildings is the "House of the Genoese" built in 1399.

The building of the old customs, which was built in 1477, is now a city library. The Poortersloge, the bourgeois chamber, is located next to the library and houses the State Archives today, but was a meeting place for rich merchants and traders some centuries ago.The tourists enjoy walking to the Burg Square, with so many historic buildings of Bruges in the area. Basilica of the Sacred Blood of Christ was built for the relics of the Holy Blood of Christ in 1150 brought back from the Crusade. The Romanesque church attracts a lot of pilgrims back to the time of Count Dietrich.

The former customs building forms the border with the eastern side of the square. The entrance portal of the building is decorated with the emblems of the most illustrious merchant families. But only the southern facade is preserved from the original Gothic decoration of the building. From here, the arched passage leads to the former municipal office, built in the style of early Renaissance and decorated with gilded columns.

Rozenhudkay is the city quay leading to the canal bank and a summer "flea" market. Across the street, the Museum of Fine Arts can be seen. It is one of the largest museums in Belgium which attracts thousands of tourists every month. Brengvina museum hosts collections of carpets, lace, coins, musical instruments and weapons. The cathedral church of Our Lady is a Gothic church built in the 12th-14th centuries. Remarkable samples of culture are located here, with the statue of the Virgin Mary with Child, "Madonna of Bruges", by Michelangelo. Near the temple, the visitors find the oldest hospital in Europe - Hospital of St. John founded in the 12th century. It had been working till the 1960-s.

The oldest parish church in the city is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Loopholes of the Romanesque tower of the 12th century show that its lower part had served as a bulwark though the upper part of the tower was completed only in the 19th century.

Not far from the city center there is Lake of Love which draws thousands of tourists as a symbol of eternity and happiness.






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