After our canal tour, we make our way via the photogenic Rozenhoedkaai to the Church of Our Lady.
Since the spring weather is not quite what we expected, and it is comparatively cool, we visit the Cafe ‘t Klein Venetië. Here we have a glass of mulled wine to warm us up, while we watch the activity on the quay.
Continuing towards the Church of Our Lady, we are amazed by the magnificent architecture of the houses. Opposite the flea market, there is also a mooring for boat trips. In front of it, a long queue has formed in the meantime.
We enter the Arentshof, a complex formerly owned by noble families. Today, you see the artwork from Rik Poot, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, here.
We cross the Bonifazius Bridge, another famous photo motif, and reach the Church of Our Lady.
The Church of Our Lady
The construction of the church began in 1210. The completion took place in1480. In addition to the beautiful architecture of the five-naved basilica, there are two particular sights.
You can visit the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and her father the Duke of Burgundy in the eastern end of the cathedral. But, the tomb of Charles the Bold is empty. One assumes that he was buried in the Sint-Donaaskathedraal, destroyed in 1792.
Emperor Maximilian I, commissioned the tombs and ordered his heart to be buried here. It is in an iron chest in an underground room at the foot of the sarcophagi. You see it through a glass cover.
On the right and left, there are painted priest graves from the 13th to the 15th century.
The second attraction is a statue of the Madonna with Jesus, designed by Michelangelo and sold to Bruges merchants.
Through Oude Castle Street, we stroll back to the so-called Burg, where we visit the beautiful historical buildings.
To the left of the Stadhuis, the Bruges Town Hall, there is a smaller building, the Brugse Vrije (Bruges Free Office), which houses the municipal archives.
Originally it was the courthouse. It houses the famous Black Fireplace, built of black marble.
It was built in honor of the emperor, after Charles V liberated Flanders from the feudal rule of the French, in 1526. The design made by the Bruges artist Lanceloot Blondeel dates from 1528.Beside the fireplace are the portraits of Charles’ parents, Philip I and Joanna of Castile.
A large painting shows a court session in which the accused is shown to the lay assessors by bailiffs.
We return to the Stadthuis and visit the impressive Gothic hall. On the walls, one portrayed scenes from the 600-year history.
In an adjoining room is an exhibition of old writings and paintings. Remarkable is that Maximilian is mentioned nowhere, despite his importance for the city.
Holy Blood Basilica
Almost hidden in the corner, right of the Stadhuis, is one of the most important religious buildings in Europe. The Holy Blood Basilica was built in the 12th century as a double church and promoted a minor basilica, in 1923.
The upper church, originally in Romanesque style, was transformed in neo-Gothic style in 1823. Only the curved arches remained from the Romanesque period.
In the upper church, one keeps the Relic of the Holy Blood. It is an ampoule that allegedly contains the blood of Christ. At Ascension Day, the Holy Blood relic is carried through the city.
The lower church, dedicated to Saint Basil, is one of the best-preserved Romanesque-style churches in West Flanders.
Please read on > A walk to the windmills
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