One of the most popular sights in Belgium is this famously quaint merchant city, which reached its peak of wealth and power in the 1200s to 1400s. Bruges boasts some of the best-preserved and most beautiful medieval architecture in Belgium, set on a network of canals that would do Venice or Amsterdam proud.
Medieval Bruges is one of the most popular stops for tourists in Belgium
Like Venice or Amsterdam, Bruges is a city of canals
Medieval houses in the shadow of Bruges's 13th-century bell tower
Chris had to see Bruges because some of her favorite historical novels are set there (the House of Niccolo books by Dorothy Dunnett, about a merchant company in the 1460s)
The city palace of Louis de Gruuthuse, built in the 1500s, with the spire of the Church of Our Lady in the background
The coat of arms of Louis de Gruuthuse
An ornate 18th-century building on Bruges's main plaza
Next door is the city hall, completed in 1421
Canal boat tours are a popular way to see the city
The arts flourished in Bruges under the patronage of wealthy merchants and lords. The city's Groeningemuseum is full of beautiful paintings from six centuries.
A statue by Michelangelo in the Church of Our Lady, one of the few statues by the artist ever to leave Italy
The city bell tower looming over the main plaza
This medieval building now houses a French fry museum (which we were too cheap to visit)
The Poortersloge, finished in 1417, was where trading ships were loaded and unloaded. From the tower, merchants could see their ships arrive.
The Jeruzalemkerk, private chapel of the Adorne family, who featured in the Dorothy Dunnett novels that Chris loves
Covered gallery connecting the Adornes' house to the private chapel
Reproduction painting of 15th-century cloth dyers in Bruges, the subject of Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolo books
Tomb of Anselm and Margriet Adorne
A Crucifixion-themed altar in the Jeruzalemkerk