Our walk to Begijnhof starts at Walplein Square. This square and the surrounding area in the southern Old Town of Bruges offers a variety of restaurants, as well as Bruges oldest brewery De Halve Maan.
In good weather, you find plenty of outdoor seating areas. A sculpture in honor of the coachmen decorates the square.
Created in 1982 by Belgian sculptor Jef Claerhout, the sculpture shows Zeus, Leda, and Prometheus on winged Pegasus.
Through the Wijngaardstraat we reach the Wijngaardplein, the meadow with the swans we already know from the boat tour. Over a small bridge and an archway, we reach the Beguinage.
The Beguinage in Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It used to be a medieval women’s shelter where single women found refuge.
A church and a large number of small houses for the Beguines to live are lined up around a courtyard.
Although the Beguines lived without confession, their life turned out to be an intermediate stage between religious life and lay state.
The Begijnhof in Bruges, Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde, was founded in the 13th century and is now inhabited and managed by Benedictine nuns. We are lucky, that, at this time of the year, countless daffodils bloom in the inner courtyard.
We leave the Beguinage at the southern exit and visit the Minnewaterpark, an oasis of peace in the town, which is strongly influenced by tourism.
The Minnewater used to be a mooring for river ships and trek boats, a kind of water shuttle between Bruges and Ghent.
The Kasteel Minnewater offers a beautiful guest garden directly on the water, which allows you to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Back at the Katelijnestraat, we turn into the Nieuwe Gentweg and arrive at the Godshuis de Meulenaere, the Meulenaere Hospice.
In Bruges, rich people or guilds founded 46 of these almshouses in the 14th century. Around an inner courtyard, you find many small houses, that served as homes for the poor or old needy people. Still, 43 almshouses serve social objectives.
Through several side streets, we reach Simon Stevin Square. In the center is the monument in honor of Simon Stevin, a Flemish mathematician, physicist, and engineer from the 16th century. Among other things, he invented the decimal system for fractions.
In front of the well-preserved buildings, horse-drawn carriages with tourists pass by. However, the square with its cafes and restaurants is less touristy than the main square.
We go on to the market square, the Grote Markt, and take a look at the Grand Cafe Craenenburg, a place full of history.
On the occasion of the wedding of Charles the Bold in 1468, Maximilian I and Margaret of York watched the Knight’s Games here. In 1488, the citizens of Bruges imprisoned Maximilian 4 months. Later on, he witnessed the execution of his tormentors from here.
Somewhat hidden in the northern direction lies the egg market, surrounded by bars and restaurants. Worth seeing is the listed water pump in the middle of the square.
The Lion of Flanders and the Bear of Bruges crown the limestone fountain, that was created by the Bruges sculptor Pieter Pepers, in 1761.
Please read on > Free city shuttle
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