City Center - Grote Markt, Brugge
…deserted quays, and had now reached the Marketplace where the black and inscrutable Beffroi defied the rapidly encroaching darkness with its dial and gold-buckler (from Bruges-la-Morte)
Grote Markt (Market Square) is the main square in Brugge and its commercial heart since the Middle Ages as this was the place that the market was held.
Although packed with hundreds of tourists you have to visit this traffic free square as it is also a place that has numerous café and restaurants where you have a break from a long walk across the town, even if we wanted to keep walking it was impossible after some hours so we stopped here for a beer.
Just in the middle of the square you can see a large statue of Pieter de Coninck and Jan Breidel (pic 3), both of them were guildsmen that led successfully the Flemish army against the French occupation in 1302 at the Battle of Golden Spurs where all the french soldiers died!
You can also admire the beautiful 17th century buildings that face the square, some of them are even older like a façade that goes back to 15th century. Most of them were guild houses, don’t look for the Town Hall here though as it is located at Burg square, a few meters away.
Of course the most important building here is the Belfort (pic 4), a tall tower (83m high) from 13th century that overlooks the square and probably the landmark of the city and can be visited. If you manage to walk up 366 narrow steps you will be rewarded with a nice view all over the city (open daily except Monday), the entrance fee is 8 euros though.
Last but not least this is a starting point for horse drawn carriage (pic 5) that will take you through the city. We preferred to buy some frites from one of the vendors that sell them near the Belfort.
This is a new attraction where in 35 minutes you get to travel back to a morning in Bruges in 1435.
The sets, films and special effects through 7 thematic rooms show you life in the middle ages in Bruges.
“Even a victory would be dearly purchased over a party so desperate.”
— Philip the Fair, king of France, to his council members after the Flemings had gained reinforcements at Brugge and at Ghent during the Flanders uprising of 1302
In the center of Grote Markt, on tall granite pedestal, a life-size bronze of Pieter de Coninck and Jan Breydel can be seen. Unveiled in 1887, the monument was designed by the Belgian artist Paul de Vigne (born in Ghent 1846-1901).
De Coninck and Breydel, a weaver and a butcher respectively, were leaders of the local Flemish militia, which led the nighttime massacre of Philip the Fair’s French garrison in Brugge on 18.May.1302. The revolt led to the Battle of the Golden Spurs, which saw the Flemish militia defeat French troops on 11.July.1302.
The Battle of the Golden Spurs resulted in the deaths of more than 40% of the French nobility; and the leaders of more than 75 French noble families lost their lives. It was one of the worst defeats in French military history. Military leaders were forced to rethink the use of the cavalry in future battles.
“Unfit for the beautiful Gothic Bruges”
— the judgment by Brugge’s more conservative citizens about the NeoClassical-styled buildings that once stood where today’s Provincial Court stands
The Provinciaal Hof (Provincial Court), located on the northern side of Brugge’s Grote Markt (Market Square), once housed the Provincial Council of West Flanders. During the Middle Ages this spot was occupied by the ‘water halls,’ a covered hall where ships unloaded their goods for storage or for sale in the Markt
The water halls were demolished in 1787; a group of houses, designed in the NeoClassic style, was built on the land. In a town that was still largely Late Gothic in its architecture, this new look was very modern. In 1850 the Provincial government bought the complex of houses, altering the buildings for use as the seat of the Provincial offices. Fire destroyed most of the building in 1878. The Provincial Court was rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style after it had been destroyed. Today it carries out more ceremonial functions, being the location-of-choice in Brugge for dinners, meetings and expositions. On the left side of the Court is the house of the Governor of the Province of West Flanders (see photo #5); and the red brick building on the right is the Post Office.
“Fair Bruges, I shall then remember thee.
— a line from ‘The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo’ by Robert Southey, Esq. (1774-1843)
Grote Markt (Market Square), with its central location, was Brugge’s medieval commercial heart; this active area remains a major attraction today. Nearby Burg Square is the city’s administration heart.
Since October 1996, the 2.5-acre square has been traffic free. Completely refurbished, it is now one of the most popular parts of the city. The main attraction on the Square is the 12th century Belfry and Cloth Hall (see photo #5). For a bird’s eye view of the Square, climb the Belfry! (see photo #3). The Provincial Court borders Grote Market on the northern side; medieval ‘water halls’ once stood on this spot. This covered hall was where ships unloaded their goods for storage or for sale in the market. The southern and eastern sides of the square offer locals and visitors alike restaurants and shops, located in the ground floor space of former private houses and guild houses.
Notice the many bicycles in Photo #1 of the Grote Markt. See my Brugge Transportation Tip “Biking Around Brugge” for more photos of the popularity of biking.
It is a very beautiful medieval square.The historic centre of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Lots of colourful and nice buildings aound the square. It is very nice to take a coffe or Belgium beer at a cafe after a long walk.
Just in front of the Belfort is the town square or Grote Markt. The Markt here in Brugge is very reminiscent of the one I saw in Brussels several years ago although not quite as large. The weekly Sunday market here dates back to the 10th century. Most of the buildings here are from the 17th century with the oldest dating back to the 1656. We arrived early in the morning around 9 am. There were not a lot of people out yet and the square was basically empty. As the day progressed the square started to attract more people and by the end of our day we found a small crowd of tourists busy taking pictures and enjoying themselves.
The Grote Market is the center of Brugge (Bruges). There are many great cafes and buildings to look at such as the Provinciaal Hof and the Belfort. The many colorful buildings add to the charm and beauty of Brugge (Bruges).
If you come to Bruges, you will constantly find yourself in the Grote Markt, as all roads seem to lead here. It's not as grand and ornate as the Grand Place in Brussels, but is charming on a smaller scale. Two side of the square are dominated by Belfry Tower and the Provincial Hof (West Flanders government building), and the remaining sides are filled with traditionally built Guild Houses. The uppermost step of each Guildhouse roof once held the symbol of the Guild of the house, but unfortunately most of these have been lost over the years.
For centuries the town's main market was held in the square, but the tradition ended in 1993 (it is now held in t'Zand on Saturdays). Astonishingly, the square was then used as a car park for a few years!
The Markt is the place to catch on of the bus tours around the town, or a horse and carriage ride, or to do what we did and just sit in the sunshine with a tray of frites bought from the vans by the Belfry. The simple pleasures are the best!
Grote Markt is the larger of the two prominent squares in Buges. It is surrounded by the Belfry, the Cloth Hall, the Provincial Court and some very interesting houses that are now restaurants and cafes. Many of the horse carriage tours leave from the square.
The main city square is often referred to as Grote Markt. On Wednesdays the square is transformed into one large marketplace, but throughout the rest of the week it is simply one of the most interesting, colorful, and full of character and ambience, city squares anywhere in the world. The square is packed with restaurants, coffee shops, bistros, etc., all of which have open air seating available for optimal people watching. Open air dining is popular even in mid April, during which these photos were taken. Pay no attention to the overcoats you see the people dressed in. The weather was excellent. Photo #2 shows a closeup view of some of the ancient buildings, all of which house restaurants, hotels, stores, etc. Many open air shops fill other spaces in the great square. Flower gardens grace the perimeters of monuments and statues. The many flags that flew over Brugge over the course of its tomultous and fascinating history, add even more color to the square.
Most of the square is surrounded by the colorful and exquisitly preserved, 600 year old burgher houses shown. Each house has a uniquely styled Renaissance or Boroque facade and a Gothic arcade on the ground floor. They are truly unforgettable.
The city square is really noce as it is surrounded by Flemish architecture. It is always lively with amusements for everuone and you can find many restaurants for al fresco dining around it. It is dominated by the Belfry.
One of the prettiest and most colourful city squares I have ever seen is the MARKET SQUARE in Brugge. The square was teeming with visitors both local and tourists. The square is usually closed to traffic so I don't know what these vehicles were doing there.Perhaps because there was a market going on.
I couldn't get enough of those distinctive red brick buildings which contributes to the charm of the square, which has been used as a marketplace since 958.
Pop into any European town and you'll find a market square, characterically built near the town hall and the city bell tower, marked with a gorgeous statue and surrounded by the town's prettiest buildings.
Bruges is no exempt and Grote Markt is just that . It's smack right in the centre of town and operates like a true market place every Wed morning from 8am to 1pm.
I joined in the crowds and enjoyed myself despite them. Afterall, the fresh produce, meats, cheeses and olives and a goofy vendor selling carrots kept me distracted..
Brugge is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Northern Europe. It's mere bliss having a drink on a terrace overlooking one of it's beautiful canals or alternatively having a bite to eat in the City Square (although you might need to watch the prices if you are on a budget), seeing the swans on Love Lake, visiting the markets or sitting back and taking in it's beauty on a canal boat trip. I recommend visiting one of the few breweries that remain in the city in which you get an opportunity to sample the locally brewed beers and is really quite fun. Brugge certainly lives up to it's reputation as being the "Venice of the North" which is very apparent by the number of tourists flocking over to visit.