|BRUGES : The Belfry and the Cloth Hall|
- The Minnewater
- The Canals
- The Beguinage
- Our Lady's Church
- St. John's Hospital
- Salvator Cathedral
- The Market
- The Belfry
- The Burg square
- The Holy Blood
- Jerusalem Church
- The 'Godshuizen'
Market square is dominated by the cloth hall and the 83 meter high
Belfry tower, one of the symbols of the city. The original cloth hall and
tower date from 1240. The first tower, however, was destroyed by fire in
1280. At the time of the fire the four wings of the cloth hall already
existed, as well as the two square segments of the belfry. The present
octagonal lantern was added to the tower between 1482 en 1486. The wooden
spire that crowned the tower was again destroyed by fire in 1493 en 1741.
After the last fire it was never rebuilt. Like in most cities of the Low Countries the belfry tower was the place where the important documents of the city were preserved. At the same time such towers were used as watchtowers. Inside hung bells, each bell having a distinct sound and function (e.g.: bells for danger, bells for important announcements, bells to indicate the time, etc.).
The entire complex still bears witness to the importance of Bruges as a medieval trade center. In the cloth hall, the Flemish cloth which was manufactured in different other cities was sold to the rest of the world. In 1399, for instance, there were 384 sales stands inside the hall.
Nowadays, the belfry tower charms the visitor with the lovely music of a carillion, which consists of 47 bells. Other more recent decorations are the sculpture of the Madonna in renaissance style and the weapon with a Belgian lion.