As our train came into Bruges, we could see it was a special place. It is an ancient medieval town, dating back to the 8th century. Much of the architecture from the 12th -16th century has been retained, and it is stunning. It is so different from beautiful Paris, and the architecture is fascinating. The core of the old town centers around the market square, and it is wonderful:
There are several old churches, of course. The biggest church, Our Lady Cathedral, is undergoing restoration on it's tower, but we did tour the interior. This church building dates from the 13-15th century, and has the second tallest brick tower in the world. It is currently undergoing restoration, and is under wraps-so no picture to show you. It was very interesting, but we both had the oddest feeling there, hard to describe--but it seemed to have a dark feeling, unlike any other church we have visited on this trip. Maybe it was the many tombs of old rulers? We can't quite figure it out!
The other very old church is St. Salvator cathedral, and it is right across from our hotel--in fact it's right outside our window! Our hotel was once part of the church, and was a residence for the clergy. Here's our wonderful view:
The parish of St Salvator dates back to the 9th century, and parts of this cathedral building date from the 12-13 century. It is a beautiful old church, both inside and outside. We love to hear the church bells ring every hour!
The streets of this amazing town are, of course, narrow and winding, and paved with cobblestones. Each building seems to have it's own character--the same pointed roof facade, but with different architectural details. Here are a few of our favorites: