Bruges (Brugge) is one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe. Often referred to as the “Venice of the North“, it is criss-crossed by canals, the main ring of which encloses the historic centre. It is a wonderful city with cobbled streets and lovely gabled houses that cast their reflections onto the water.
In the eleventh century Bruges was a major commercial centre for the wood industry, and by the late thirteenth century was the main link to Mediterranean trade. It soon became a major financial centre too, and in 1309 the Bourse opened, making the city more sophisticated money market in the entire region. By the sixteenth century, however, Bruges had split from the Netherlands and the port of Antwerp had taken over much of its trade, leaving Bruges to decline into a provincial backwater. Continue reading Bruges aka The Venice of the North, Belgium