Hello hello there! Hope you are all well.
As I mentioned in the previous post about Lisbon’s most beautiful trains station I was going to travel for 3 weeks. So… One week and half later and I managed to visit Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp.
In Brussels I was with family celebrating my mom’s birthday, didn’t really do much a part from eating. However for the rest of my trip I have been alone.. For the first time in my life I’m traveling alone. It’s liberating! I can do whatever I want, when I want. Moving on…
After Brussels, my next stop was the very charming city of Bruges! It’s exactly how I had imagined. Small, picturesque and full of beautiful architecture.
You probably know I like to see the cities from above – if you didn’t know just read my Lisbon from above post to understand why- so Bruges is no exception. I present to you Bruges from above: the best view in the city!
The best view in Bruges is located at the top of the Belfry tower. This building as been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999 and if you ever went to Bruges you probably understand why. It’s the tallest building in the old city center, controlling Bruges skyline and with the most amazing views! This is why I love to see the city from above.. From there you get a good understanding of the Bruges landmarks. The one that stand outs the most is the church that houses the famous Michelangelo sculpture. Although is possible to admire more modern buildings like the Concertgebouwn and all the brick houses with their red roofs.
From this view you can see that the city center is quite small! One full day is good enough to visit the city or if you want to explore the outskirts like I did two days will do.
You can see the tower pretty much from anywhere and when I started to get lost I just used the Belfry to navigate myself. This is a very important urban planning aspect when designing a city or even a small town. You have to have the regular, the identical… like the houses that look pretty much all the same so there’s a coherent and organized look in the city. However it’s essential to have the exception like the Belfry or the churches. Not only they usually serve a public function but they are used as reference for the population and visitors. It has happen to all, somebody ask where you are and you just say ” I’m next to the (insert building name) ” for example in Porto I would say ” I’m near the Casa da Música” or “I’m near the Clérigos”.
That’s enough for an explanation about city planning for now..
You do have to go up lot to find this beautiful views, to be more specific, 366 steps. However is totally worth it! You can pause along the way to see the old treasury, where the public funds were kept and also at the level of the clock’s mechanisms or in the carillon chamber with its 47 bells. So don’t worry, it’s not a hike…
I won’t be talking much about the architecture of the building it self. I prefer to know what the building represents in the city not so much about the architecture details.
The Belfry of Bruges is a medieval bell tower with 83 meters added to the market square around 1240 when Bruges was prospering as an important center of the Flemish cloth industry. If the Belfry doesn’t look straight that’s because it isn’t, it leans 87 centimeters to the east. At first I was thinking my mind was playing tricks on me because I couldn’t take a straight photo.
However the tower is not the only part of this building. The complex is composed of two connected square brick sections from the 13th century that formed the previous market hall. A rectangular building with 44 meters width but 84 meters deep with a inner courtyard.
Belfry Tower suffered many fires and accidents over the years so, for this reason it was rebuilt multiple times. From a wooden tower to a stone tower, the building is now fire risk free and open to public.
Open every day from 9:30 in the morning till 18:00 in the afternoon. Entry fee is 10 euro for adults, 8€ under 26 and free for children number 6.
This is the first post I will be doing about my trip in Europe! Next week I will take about something not so well-known in Bruges, modern architecture. Yes it’s not only Medieval buildings there.
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