Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bruges, one of the most flourishing commercial cities of Belgium, is situated in a fertile plain which is intersected by the canals of Ghent, Ostend, and Sluys. These connect, the city with the sea, which is about eight miles away, and over them are upwards of fifty swing bridges to allow the passage of vessels. It is from the circumstance of having so many bridges that Bruges derives its name. It has also some remarkable buildings, noteworthy amongst which are the church of Notre Dame, with its lofty spire and tomb of Charles the Bold, the cathedral of St. Sauveur, containing the stalls of the Knights of the Golden Fleece, the Halles, in whose Gothic belfry are the finest chimes in the world, and the Hotel de Ville, with a library of 100,000 volumes. There are also interesting art works by Jan van Eyck, Mending, the Van Oosts, and Michael Angelo, to whom the sculpture of the Virgin and Child in the church of Notre Dame is attributed. Among its manufactures are lace, for which it is celebrated, linens, woollens, cottons, starch, distillery, sugar-refining, and shipbuilding; and its canal communications and position at the junction of several railways make it a great trading centre. It dates from the third century, and became a leading mart of the Hanseatic League, and the centre of the commercial world - a position that it lost through the blighting breath of religious persecution. It became incorporated with Belgium in 1830.