Bruges On the RoadBruges, Belgium
This charming little town vividly reconstructs sights from the past, all within walking distance: there are the monumental churches:
- Church of our Lady: with the only work of art by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime -Saint Saviours Cathedral: Bruges' oldest parish church (12th-15th century). Worth seeing are the gobelins, mausoleums in the choir, rood-loft with organ (1619-1717), choir stalls and numerous fine paintings …or the many buildings who remind of a rich history (City Hall, Belfry Tower). As well as yearly reoccurring events such as the Reiefeesten, Procession of the Holy blood & Pageant of the Golden Tree.
Bruges is not only a world heritage city but also a city that is marking history today. Within the framework of European City of Culture of 2002 a number of contemporary architecture projects were carried out in the centre of Bruges.
Even a few strong architectural elements (such as the concert hall and the Toyo Ito Pavilion) bear witness to the Year of Culture and now stand face to face with the surrounding old city.
Even more: Both (annually organised) music-festivals (Klinkers & Cactusfestival) also emphasise the strength of combining old style charm with a strong cultural life.
What more to say: lots! First of, there is the museums (too many to mention) however here’s 2 of the most important
- The Groeninge Museum, with six centuries of paintings from different styles, including works by Jan van Eyck, a Flemish Primitive painter. - The Memling museum is one of the oldest surviving mediaeval hospitals in Europe, evoking everyday life at the hospital in former times.
The chapel, with its brilliant 15th-century panels by Hans Memling and the St Ursula shrine, is the undisputed treasure-house of the complex. The old hospital pharmacy is also worth a visit.
Of course a visit to Bruges wouldn’t be complete without a canal or carriage ride, sampling the chocolates and waffles, shopping for craft work including Bruges famous lace, visiting art galleries or trying several of the more than 350 available Belgian beers.
See ya there!