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Bruges / Belgium

Bruges ; Dutch: Brugge [ˈbrʏɣə] ; German: Brügge [ˈbʁʏɡə]) is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country, and the seventh largest city of the country by population. The area of the whole city amounts to more than 13,840 hectares , including 1,075 hectares off the coast, at Zeebrugge . The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It is oval in shape and about 430 hectares in size. The city's total population is 117,073 , of whom around 20,000 live in the city centre. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 616 km2 and has a total of 255,844 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam and St Petersburg, it is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. Bruges has a significant economic importance, thanks to its port, and was once one of the world's chief commercial cities. Bruges is well known as the seat of the College of Europe, a university institute for European studies.

Groeningemuseum

Bruges / Belgium

The Groeningemuseum is a municipal museum in Bruges, Belgium, built on the site of the medieval Eekhout Abbey. It houses a comprehensive survey of six centuries of Flemish and Belgian painting, from Jan van Eyck to Marcel Broodthaers. The museum's many highlights include its collection of Early Netherlandish paintings, works by a wide range of Renaissance and Baroque masters, as well as a selection of paintings from the 18th and 19th century neo-classical and realist periods, milestones of Belgian symbolism and modernism, masterpieces of Flemish Expressionism and many items from the city's collection of post-war modern art.

Old St. John's Hospital

Bruges / Belgium

The Hospital of St. John was a medieval hospital in Bruges. It was founded in the mid-12th century. Located next to the Church of Our Lady, the premises contain some of Europe's oldest surviving hospital buildings. The hospital grew during the Middle Ages and was a place where sick pilgrims and travellers were cared for. The site was later expanded with the building of a monastery and convent. In the 19th century, further construction led to a hospital with eight wards around a central building. Not until 1977 did the building's function as a hospital stop, at which time it was moved to a newer modern hospital in Brugge Sint-Pieters. The city of Bruges took over the buildings. Today part of the hospital complex holds the popular Hans Memling museum, named for the German-born Early Netherlandish painter, where a number of works, such as triptychs are displayed, as well as hospital records, medical instruments and other works of art.The hospital site is also used as a congress and exhibition centre, the site Oud Sint-Jan.

Church of Our Lady, Bruges

Bruges / Belgium

The Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. This church is essentially "...a monument to the wealth, sophistication, taste, and devotion of this most Catholic city, whose history and faith stand today celebrated in this wonderful building." Its tower, at 115.6 metres in height, remains the tallest structure in the city and the second tallest brickwork tower in the world . The church demonstrates the Gothic style in the prominent Flying buttresses on the exterior which were constructed in the 1270s and 80s. The nave contains cross-vaults and black and white tiled flooring. The interior demonstrates the heavily ornamented Baroque style in the side aisles and chancel. One of the chapels in the church was created in 1482 for a wealthy man named Lodewijk van Gruuthuse, as his personal worship area.

St. Salvator's Cathedral

Bruges / Belgium

The Saint-Salvator Cathedral is the cathedral of Bruges, Flanders, in present-day Belgium. The cathedral is dedicated to the Verrezen Zaligmaker and Saint-Donatius of Reims.