IN A NUTSHELL
WHAT: Bruges, Belgium.
WHERE: Belgium's coast.
WHY: Perfectly preserved medieval town complete with
canals and open market squares. Wonderful pedestrian old town.
WHEN: Any time of year, but the summer will draw a mass
HOW: International flights into Brussels Airport and then
car or train to the coast.
IF YOU LIKE THIS... Then you should check out the
"Golden City" of Prague, another
wonderfully preserved UNESCO
World Heritage Site.
Brugge) is just
what the doctor ordered for travelers seeking canals, cobblestone
streets, and historic buildings. This small city near the
Belgian coast is home to some of the continent's best preserved
medieval buildings, and because of its canals is often referred to
as the Venice of the North. The whole historic center of
Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city was also the
2002 European City of Culture.
The marvel of Bruges is a result of its history. From the 12th
to 15th Centuries the city was a financial hub of Europe and host of
the world's first stock exchange. In the 1500s, the waterway
linking the city to the sea started to silt up and the merchants and
traders lift. The city sat silent for 400 years until the late
19th Century, when the author George Rodenbach wrote a novel set in
the city, and Bruges soon returned to life.
Because the city sat silent for so long, it is now the
best-preserved medieval city in western Europe.
Today, tourists seeking a respite from the modern bustle of the
modern Western European cities come to Bruges and delight in the
narrow cobblestone streets, canals, and -- of course -- Belgian
||Black and white photo of
the Provinciaal Hof (Provincial Court)
enjoy a cool summer evening in the central square
Belgian architecture with Belfort in the background
Hof (Provincial Court) with flags in the foreground
provide picturesque spots all around the old city
Boats on the
many canals around Bruges
of the Belfort tower from the Markt
Row of old
houses around the Markt in the city center
Bruges is also the setting of the 2008 film In Bruges,
starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes.
The film showcases the scenery of Bruges and its historic medieval
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