Belfry Tower - Belfort, Brugge
EXPLORE this wonderful, magnificent city.......do whatever you can do,:
climb the Belfry,
make a boat tour and .....
enter the Bookshop (see my TRAVELOGUE)
and buy Gaston de Smet's fabulous book!
a better keepsake than the many 'normal' souvenirs!
Don't forget to sit down at one of the numerous (street)caffees for a nice cool glass of Belgian BEER.....
Climb the 366 steps up (and down!) a spiral staircase to the top of the bell tower for some amazing panoramic views of Brugge. There are places to stop along the way to the top, so you can catch your breath, but there isn't room for two to go up/down at the same time, so be aware.
I always love going up towers when I am in a new city I have not visited before...it gives a great panoramic view. And in Bruges, the Belfry does not dissapoint!
This 88 metre tower from 13th-14th century houses the former city treasury. I don't think the treasures are there anymore, but the the view from the top is the real treasure!
You will aprreciate the beauty of Bruges after climning 366 steps that takes you past the impressive clock mechanism and the famous 47-bell carillon.
Definitely not a place to missed in Bruges!
If you have only enough time for one attraction in Bruges, then this should be it. The Belfort offers the best view of the city. Just take your time going up; it's a challenging climb on a very narrow, 366-step spiral staircase.
The Belfort, or belfry, is where the city's treasures were once kept, such as its royal charter and money. It was originally built in 1240, but destroyed by fire. The present one dates to the late 15th century.
The Markt Hallon, or Market Hall, was a center of trade, located at the tower's base. The city's main industry was its cloth. Here, merchants sold cloth to buyers from all over Europe.
This is good 'first' thing to do after looking around the Markt. There is a nominal admission fee of about 6.00 Euros - and it is worth it! The view is quite remarkable and it isn't that difficult of a climb. Beware though.... we got to the top as the bells started chiming! It was very loud!
We arrived in Brugge by bus from the train station located just outside of the city center. The bus stopped in the Markt Square. Upon leaving the bus the first thing we saw was the domineering Belfort. It literally seems to take ove the entire square. The tower is open for tourists and you can climb the 366 steps to the top which rises 272 feet above the Markt Square. The view from the top is breath taking. You can see most of the city and get a feel for where you want to walk later. There is a nominal fee for climbing the tower. We were here in late May and the weather was still quite cool. We had not brought jackets and should have. As we climbed the tower we began notice how cool it actually was and we were a little uncomfortable that morning. As the day grew the temperatures got a little warmer. I understand that during the high tourist season its very crowded in Brugge. Luckily for us, in late May the large groups of tourist had not arrived yet and we had the city and the tower to ourselves for the most part. The tower dates back to the 13th and 15th century.
In the historical centor of Bruges is the Belfry of Bruges or the Belfort. It’s a medievil bell tower which formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives. It also served as an observation post to detect fires and other dangers in the city. There is a narrow and steep staircase with 366 steps that will lead you to the top of the 83-meter-high building. The building leans about a meter to the east.
It is said that the bells of the tower regulated city life. It annouced everything from fires, works hours and social, political and religious events. Sometime in the 16th century the tower got a carillon. This allowed for the bells to be played via a hand keyboard. The crillion originally comprised of 35 bells, but after the fire of 1741 the bells were replaced which today total 47.
The Belfry is also knows as Halletoren (town of halls) because located on the sides and back of the tower stands the former market hall with an inner courtyard.
The mediaeval belfry tower (13th-15th century) is 88 metres in height and houses the former city treasury, in which Bruges' valuables (money and royal charters) were once kept. A climb of 366 steps takes you past the clock mechanism and finaly to the top were you can get your breath back and look out over a great view of the city and its surroundings. The famous 47-bell carillon is also located here.
The climb up the spiral stairs is certainly not easy and should not be attempted by anybody to unfit.
At the side of the Market Square is the Belfry. Constructed in the 13th century when the town was at it's richest period. A tower, especially a belfrey was a symbol of civic pride and municipal independence.
The 366 steps of the spiral stone and wooden staircase are a little hard on the feet—and the thigh muscles! However, there are places where you can stop and rest for a while on the way, although with traffic moving up behind you and coming down ahead of you passing can be quite tricky (but a useful way to practice saying “After You” and “Thank You” in various languages!”)
Brugge has a belfry tower even Quasimodo would enjoy. With commanding views over the town, a climb to the top of the belfry tower was a must. But, I always approach such endeavors with trepidation as half way up the stairs I am reminded of how little exercise I get…and perhaps I should just admire the view of the architecture from the relative safety of a café table across the town square.
On the climb to the top, I passed by the gears of the clock and the bells which provided an excuse to take a break from the climb and catch a lungful of air. Unfortunately, the Belgians hadn’t thought to put a pub at this level or my friend Action Jimmy could have administered last rites to me. On the move again, we eventually reached the top and looked out over the little town of Brugge. From the top of the belfry tower, you feel like you are swimming in a sea of red tile roofs. Everywhere you look, there are red tiles are staring back at you.
Every medieval town wanted to have a tower as a matter of pride and function. The towers were used to watch for fires and enemies approaching the city, to proclaim decrees and give information to the citizens.
The 83m tall splendid tower Belfort and the medieval marketplace hall Halen were built in the XIII century. It is now on a UNESCO list of world heritage.
In the Markt that you will find the Belfort. It was built in 13th century and is now on UNESCO's World Heritage List. It is possible to go inside and climb to the top where spectacular views will be awarded to you but be warned there are 366 steps and you will certainly not be alone!
There are 47 bells and they are still played manually.
The building from which the belfy rising, is the 13th century (former) marketplace.
The Belfry Tower dominates the Grote Markt and serves as a handy landmark if you are elsewhere in the town and not quite sure of which direction to walk next! There has been a belfry tower on this spot since the 13th century, although the current version dates I believe from the early 19th century. The bells play a variety of tunes throughout the day, I definitely picked out 'Danny Boy' at one stage!
You can climb the 366 steps of the tower for a small fee and apparently are rewarded with the best views of the town from the top. Frankly, I was too hot and too idle to do this during our visit, so decided to save it for another day.
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it in "The Belfry of Bruges"
As the evening shades descended,
Low and loud and sweetly blended,
Low at times and loud at times,
And changing like a poet's rhymes,
Rang the beautiful wild chimes,
From the belfry in the markt
Of the ancient tower of Bruges.
Thinking "beautiful wild chimes" might conjure up a picture of dingling wind chimes but, when there's a concert on I can assure you that's about the furthest thing from your mind. It's loud, it rings through the town and there's 47 of them but it's entrancing in its own right. They have a combined weight of 27 tonnes.
This symbol of liberty and demonstration of power and prosperity testifies to the architectural capabilities of the Flemish. Beside the tower in bronze is a replica so blind people can "see" the tower.
At 272 feet in height (sounds so much higher than around 83 metres) it's not the tallest tower by a long way but the view from the top reached by what I call the "leap year steps" (work out how many yourself) gives a wonderful overview of Bruges, particularly the most interesting bits.
The original tower and cloth hall (where cloth from different cities was sold to international traders) were built in 1240 and destroyed by fire 40 years later. At that point the four wings of the cloth hall already existed, as well as the two square segments of the belfry. The present octagonal lantern was added to the tower construction between 1482 en 1486.
Yet again fire struck when the wooden spire that crowned the tower burnt down in 1493 and again in 1741.
After this last fire, the spire was never rebuilt.
This photograph is one of my favourites that I took in Brugge, I hope you like it too.
Perhaps Bruges most recognizable landmark, the impressive 83m belfry was built in the 13th century when the city was in its heyday as a center of trade. It is well worth the 366 step climb to the top for views of the city. It's open from 9:30-5:30 and cost 3 Euros for the bird's eye workout.