Historical Sites

Bruges the Venice of North Europe

Called the “Venice of the North,” Bruges, or Brugge, is a captivating city near the Belgian coast, renowned for its intricate network of navigable canals that meander through the city’s stunning Gothic architecture. As the capital of West Flanders, Bruges is enchantingly picturesque; its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is encircled by an oval moat tracing the path of ancient, now-vanished medieval fortifications. This area is a labyrinth of charming cobbled streets linking quaint squares dominated by historic churches and old buildings with stepped gables.


One of the most notable areas in Bruges is undoubtedly the Beghinage. This term refers to a complex of scenic buildings once inhabited by beghines, fraternities of lay women. These women, many widowed after the Crusades and concerned for their safety, would gather in beghinages. These communities upheld the Catholic values of obedience and chastity but allowed women to retain control over their own patrimonies.


The Bruges Beghinage, consisting of thirty white houses, was founded in 1245 by Margaret of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders. Although the Beguines have not been present since 1928, today Benedictine nuns reside there.

Inside the beghinage, there is a church and a courtyard, creating a serene atmosphere. Of the 1,500 Beguines who lived in Belgium up to a century ago, only one remains today, residing in Kortrijk.


This historical and architectural richness makes Bruges a fairy-tale city, drawing visitors who are captivated by its beauty and intricate past. For more detailed information on the history and attractions of Bruges, check out this comprehensive guide. Additionally, for those interested in exploring more about the unique cultural and historical sites of Belgium, Secret World offers extensive insights and practical tips.

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