|BRUGES : Our Lady's Church (O.L.V-Kerk)|
- 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'
approaching Bruges, one can already see from afar the highest tower in
the city, the tower of Our Lady's Church. Although this church is not
the most important one on the religious level (St Salvator's church is) it
certainly attracts most visitors because of its medieval character and the
important works of art that can be admired here.
Architecturally Our Lady does not present a uniform style. The construction has to be situated between the second half of the 13th century and the late 15th century. The style varies from late Romanesque style over Scheldt-Gothic to French Gothic. Furthermore, in the 18th century Our Lady was transformed into a more contemporary style. Around 1900, however, the church was renovated whereby the renovators tried to re-establish the original medieval styles. The most important and eye-catching part of the church is certainly the tower. The building started in the middle of the 13th century. The tower reaches a heigth of 122 meters, which makes it the second highest church tower in Belgium (The cathedral of Antwerp has the highest tower: 123 m !). A really enormous mass of bricks was used for the tower. It is impossible to imagine that this mighty edifice could one day collapse or that some authority would decide to demolish it. The tower looks like it was built for eternity.
The reason why so many tourists visit Our Lady is, of course, the presence of the Madonna by Michelangelo and the splendid tombstones of Mary of Burgundy and her father Charles the Bold.
In the sacrament chappel in the right wing of the church is the famous Madonna by Michelangelo. This beautiful marble sculpture is the only sculpture by the great Italian artist that can be seen in the Low Countries. It was made for the cathedral of Sienna, but two merchands from Bruges (Jan and Alexander Moscroen) brought it to Bruges after one of their business trips to Italy in 1506.
The tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy.
In the choir of the church are the splendid tombstones of Mary of Burgundy and her father Charles the Bold. Duchess Mary reigned over the Low Countries in the last part of the 15th century and died in Bruges in 1482 after she fell from her horse during a hunting trip in the surroundings of Bruges. Her father had died in 1477 in Nancy, France. In 1550 the remains of Charles the Bold were brought to Bruges and buried next to those of his daughter Mary. The tombs of both dukes were decorated in late gothic style (Mary's) and early renaissance style (Charles'). In front of both tombs is a triptych by Barend van Orley.