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Even in the "low season" it's so busy. And the summer bookings are coming in on a fast tempo.

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vrijdag 15 november 2013

The Market square of Bruges

The poll that was on last week gave you guy the possibility to choose which location you'd to know a little more about. The winner was the Market square. So let me tell you about this place !

This square is located in the center of Bruges and hard to miss. Most of the busses you take have a stop here. As I told you in a previous post, if you’re at the train station just take any bus that says “centrum” on the front sign of the bus and the 3rd stop is the market square.

If you want to go on a horse carriage ride, this is where they start. Sometimes there is a huge queue before you can “embark” in a carriage. For those who want to see Bruges in this way, it’s €39. That’s per carriage, not per person. Up to 5 persons maximum can ride along. It’s a 30-35 minute ride which takes you pass the most known buildings in Bruges. A little word of warning must be added here. What they don’t tell you is they make a stop halfway, to let the horse rest, drink and eat. This stop takes + 15 minutes… Just so you know.
The market square has many beautiful buildings surrounding it. Talking about every building would be too much, so I’ll just stick to a short history on the square itself. I’ll tell more on the buildings in later posts.
If you are in Bruges on a Wednesday, know there is a market going on there are well. Different stalls with food can be found there. Best ribs! If you’re staying in a hostel, just get the ribs, buy fries, go back to the hostel and eat there. For a complete Belgian meal, drink a beer from the tap with it!
Right now (November) they’re building an ice ring on the market square. Starting second half of November until second half of January you can go ice skating there. The ring is surrounded with a cozy Christmas market. Mulled wine (Gl├╝hwein), hot chocolate, clothing,… are a few of the things the stalls offer.

The exact year of the first market on this place is not known, but it is sure in the 10th century it was a place for trade for many people. The first international fair was in the 1200’s. The first hall for traders was erected around 1220, these were small wooden buildings on the south side of the square. In 1240 a bigger building with a wooden tower was built, but in 1280 a big fire destroyed this building, to be replaced by a stone building in 1291-1296 (the beginning of the Belfry).
Can you imagine there was a canal running on the east side of the square? Yes, they even built a “waterhall” over the canal, so traders could unload their cargo there. This building doesn’t exist anymore, it was demolished in 1787. Now you can find the post office and “Historium” there, amongst others.

If you look to the north side of the square, notice the buildings on the left of the small street (Geernaartstraat) are standing a little more to the front. That’s because until 1786 a church (St Christopher’s church) stood there.
In 1955-’56 the square was renovated and since then parking cars here is not allowed any more. But below you can find a "morphing" I made to show you what it looked like in 1956 and it'll change to a picture I took a few days ago. Just hit the play below.

Tip: you can find a lot of restaurants here, but you will pay a tourist price. Ok, you ate at the market square of Bruges, but trust me when I assure you there are many better and cheaper places where you can eat typical Belgian food. But on that, I’ll tell you more later.