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World Heritage Site

For centuries the canals of Bruges have linked the city to the sea, a guarantee of wealth and prosperity. International merchants built up Bruges into one of the largest Hanse cities. In the 15th century the city flourished as never before. Large parts of the medieval heritage remained practically intact. Therefore, it is only logical that Unesco designated the entire city centre as a world heritage site. 

Unesco world heritage city

In 1998, the Beguinage was awarded world heritage status. It was joined by the Belfry a year later and in 2000 the entire historic centre was awarded world heritage status. Bruges has a strong architectural heritage and is a beautiful example of an architecturally homogeneous city. It is particularly famous for its gothic brick buildings. The urban fabric of medieval Bruges has grown in a natural and organic way over the years and the city is also the birthplace of the Flemish primitives.

Procession of the Holy Blood and carillon culture

  • Each year since 1304, on Our Lord’s Ascension, the relic of the Holy Blood is carried around the city as part of the Holy Blood Procession. This folklore tradition involves the whole city and in 2009 it was recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. The relic is housed in the Basilica of the Holy Blood and is venerated daily.
  • Something completely different, but equally impressive, is the carillon. This is a musical instrument that is played with a keyboard and consists of over 23 bronze clocks. The aim is to sound the clocks in order to create a harmony. Since November 2014, UNESCO has recognised Belgian carillon culture as Intangible Cultural Heritage. The sound of the carillon can be enjoyed every day in Bruges.

Heritage app

FARO, the Flemish organisation promoting cultural heritage, has created a free heritage app, which allows you to digitally explore exciting cultural heritage on offer from museums and heritage organisations. The app also suggests a number of Bruges heritage routes and tours.

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