Beautiful Buildings and Holy Blood in Bruges’ Burg Square


The Burg Follow Me on Pinterest

Burg square in Bruges

The Burg, the other main square in Bruges is just off the east side of the Grote Markt. From the Markt, we took an easy stroll along Breidelstraat (next to the post office) to arrive at the Burg (fortress). Although there is no trace of any fortress here today, the interesting mix of beautiful buildings that still exist on the square took us on a journey through Bruges’ long history.

The Burg

Burg square was so named because of the fortress that Baldwin Iron Arm, the first Count of Flanders, built here in the 9th century. As the base of the Counts of Flanders, the Burg became the political and religious centre of the region and on the square are some of the finest buildings in Bruges. Although the fortress disappeared a long time ago, the Burg remained an important political centre for quite a period and is still the administrative centre of Bruges today.

Burg Attractions

Bruges-Stadhuis Follow Me on Pinterest

Stadhuis facade statues

My favourite building on the Burg is the Stadhuis. This very beautiful Gothic Bruges City Hall was built in 1376, making it is one of the oldest in the Low Countries. It was from this building that the city was governed for more than 600 years. The statues on the facade, although not the original, are of the Counts of Flanders and biblical figures.

In the entrance hall a large staircase leads to the Gothic Hall and the adjoining Historic Hall. If you’re interested in the early history of Bruges, the power struggle between the people and its rulers and seeing historical documents and artifacts, such as the city’s seal, these halls are worth visiting.

The Palace of the Liberty of Bruges was the place from which the surrounding countryside was governed from the late Middle Ages until 1795 – the “Liberty” was the name of a district of Bruges. This palace later served as the Old Court House for nearly 200 years.

Old Court of Justice Follow Me on Pinterest

Lady Justice balancing her scale

Crowning the building is the blind-folded statue of Lady Justice balancing her scale. Today it houses Bruges city council administration.

To the right of the 14th-century city hall, tucked away in a corner, is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where the relic of the Holy Blood is kept.

Basilica of the Holy Blood Follow Me on Pinterest

Basilica of the Holy Blood

The facade of the Basilica is ornately decorated with gilded statues and medallions of the Counts of Flanders and their partners.

The Holy Blood is believed to be drops of blood and water washed from the body of Christ by Joseph of Arimathea. Our very jolly guide was obviously sceptical about the relic as she hardly mentioned that a veneration ceremony takes place in the chapel everyday. She was in a hurry to take people off to their next activity which was coffee and cakes and then a canal ride. Luckily for us, we were in the chapel when the veneration ceremony took place and got to witness the faithful who had come to venerate the phial.

Other historical sights around the Burg include the baroque Proosdij which faces the Town Hall. The Provost’s House used to be the residence of the Bishop of Bruges and is now occupied by government offices of the West Flanders province. Oude Civiele Griffie was the Old Civic Registry next to the Town Hall. We somehow managed to miss the narrow arched alley that leads from the Burg to the 18th century Vismarkt. It goes by the unusual name of Blind Donkey Alley.

Just next to the Basilica of the Holy Blood there are a couple of brasseries and restaurants where you can sit and take in the ambience of this beautiful square.

See more photos of Burg square and its historical buildings Here.

Map of Bruges:

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