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Bruges, Belgium


Bruges was a portal to The Amber Road, a trade route to the East that began in 1600 BC. Traces of human activity in Bruges date from the Pre-Roman era. The earliest fortifications were built in the first century BC, to protect the coastal area against pirates. The Franks took over the whole region around the 4th century. Viking incursions of the ninth century prompted the reinforcements in the walls and buildings.

Bruges had a strategic location at the crossroads of the northern and southern trade routes. It fostered a wool and cloth trade, growing into one of the largest trader cengters in the world.  This opened a trade in spices, and also advanced commercial and financial techniques. A flood of capital soon took over the banking of Bruges. It became a major art center, attracting painters, novelists, and prominent people to settle here.  But this prosperity would not last..

The silting of the local rivers and channels eventually closed the waterways, and trade dropped.  The city suffered, and population declined.  But In the last half of the 19th century, Bruges became one of the world’s first tourist destinations attracting wealthy British and French tourists.  Now tourism is the major source of income for the city.

Bruges is known for chocolate, beer and lace.  But it also has a great art history, and has the original “Madonna and Child” by Michelangelo on display in the Our Lady church.  A spectacular place to visit!

The Belfry on the Grote Markt in Brugge

The Belfry on the Grote Markt in Bruges

Buildings on the Grote Markt

Colorful buildings on the Grote Markt

An almost gone skill, making lace

An almost gone skill, hand making making lace

Tower of the Out Lady church

Tower of the Our Lady church

A bridge over the canal

A bridge over the canal, and swans on the canal

Canal view

Canal view

Another view of the tower

Another view of the Belfry, viewed across one of the canals

The street our hotel is on

The street our hotel is on

Impressive even at night

Impressive even at night

Window shopping

Window shopping

Government building at night

Government building at night

Yum! Chocolate!

Yum! Chocolate! Check out the chocolate tools

Grote Markt buildings at night

Grote Markt buildings at night

Madonna and Child, by Michelangelo

Madonna and Child, by Michelangelo

City view

City view, on one of the main canals

Local architecture

Local architecture, on the canal

Inside a local church

Inside a local church

Harp concert, and it was spectacular!

Harp concert, and it was spectacular!

The smallest bridge in Brugge

The smallest bridge in Bruges

Old house on the canal

Old house on the canal

Evening view around the Grote Markt

Evening view around the Grote Markt

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