|BRUGES : The Town Hall and the Burg Square|
- 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'
is a city with two town squares. The largest one is the Market,
the commercial heart of medieval Bruges. The second square is called the
'Burg'. Here was, and still is, the heart of the
It was here that Count Baldwin I had a fortified castle built to protect the area against the ramping Normans and Vikings. The castle has long since disappeared as well as the main religious building of Bruges, the St. Donatius church, which stood on the opposite site of the town hall. On the site of the church is now a little wall, a partial reconstruction of the choir walls of the church. It was built here after the foundations of St. Donatius had been found back in 1955. The church was erected around the year 900. The central part was octagonal, much like the cathedral of Charlemagne in the German city of Aachen on which it was modeled. The original prayer house of the year 900 was replaced in the 12th century by a church in Romanesque style. This version of the St. Donatius church was destroyed in 1799 during the French occupation of the Southern Netherlands. Some of the art treasures went to other churches (St. Salvator's Cathedral in Bruges). Several famous people were buried in St. Donatius : the English princess Gunhilde (+ 1087), the Flemish painter Jan van Eyck (+ 1441) and the Spanish philosopher Juan Luis Vives (+ 1540)
One of the most beautiful buildings of Bruges can be seen here : the gothic town hall from 1376. It was one of thefirst monumental town halls in the Low Countries. In the front facade are six gothic windows. On the frontside are also displayed the town weapons of the cities and villages that were under administrative rule from Bruges. There are 48 niches for statues. The original statues (biblical figures and counts of Flanders) where demolished during the aftermath of the French Revolution. Their 19th century replacements have also already been changed for more modern versions. In the entrance hall a large staircase leads to the so-called Gothic Hall (1386-1401). This hall was decorated in 1895 with neo-gothic wall paintings that illustrate the most important events in the history of Bruges.
(Above : The entrance to the Holy Blood chapel, also known as 'De Steeghere')
The Burg square is really a showcase of different European architectural styles. Next to the gothic town hall stands the Old Civil Registry in renaissance style. (1534-1537). The decorative statues were also smashed to pieces in 1792, but later renovated. The bronze statues represent Justice, Moses and Aaron. Since 1883 the building is used as Peace Court. On its left side is another building in another style: the former Court of Justice in neo-classicist style. (1722-1727). Inside this building is the famous monumental chimney of the 'Brugse Vrije'. The chimney was built between 1528 and 1581 in wood, alabaster and marble, to commemorate the victory of Emperor Charles V on the French king François I in Pavia. The former Court of Justice now houses the Tourist Information center of Bruges.
Also the Baroque style is represented here. On the left side of the square is the Deanery (1662), the former house of the Deans of the St. Donatius church. It became later a part of the palace of the Bishop of Bruges.
Then, finally, tucked away in the corner of the square, next to the town hall, is the Basilius church and the Chapel of the Holy Blood.