The Market Square , in the shadow of the majestic belfry tower, was the scene of mediëval festivals, fairs, tournaments, uprisings and executions. A place full of history!
Today, the square serves as e meeting place for the locals and the three tot four million visitors who flock to the town every year. The most striking building is without any doubt the Belfry.
This square was used as a marketplace since 958, and a weekly market was held here from 985. Today the large square is ringed by banks and many guild houses converted into restaurants. The Markt is filled with pedestrians and bicyclists, and is a good place to start or end a walking tour of the city.
The most prominent buildings on the square are the Belfry Tower and the Cloth Hall. However in all four directions of the square are unique buildings that provide a glance of Bruges' glorious past.
Now this IS the place to be in Bruges, full of life, buzzing with people, music & restaurants.
Wednesday is market day, the stalls sell an array of fresh fruits, veg, flowers, meats and cheese, as well as hot and cold snacks, its well worth a visit. If you want to buy something traditional the Market Square in Bruges plays host to a market offering handmade and local produce for you to browse through. Open from 8am to 1pm every Wednesday.
This square was the medieval commercial centre of the city. Without any doubt one of the city's most impressive monuments is the Belfry and Cloth Hall and on the north side the Provincial Palace, nowadays being the seat of West Flanders Provincial Court. Previously on this spot was the medieval Water Halls, which were covered halls where commercial ships could unload products for storage or for sale at the market (hence the name Markt/Market Square).
The rest of the square is occupied by restaurants and cafes located in guild houses.
The statues at the centre of the square are of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, two freedom heroes in the struggle against the French at the beginning of the 14th century. Jan Breydel was head of the butchers and Pieter de Coninck was head of the weavers. This, at least, is how the story is told in the historical novel "The Lion of Flanders" by H. Conscience.The statue was erected in 1887 when Romantiscism, characterised by a yearning for the glorious past, reached its Pinnacle throughout most of Europe.
Horse drawn carriages are available for hire in the square should you fancy a tour of the city.
If you are inclined to go on a carriage ride, here is where you can pick one up. The horse carriages on which one can take a ride – its fun! The square looks splendid at night with all the lights coming on. This is a great place to start and end the day’s tour – since one can just hang around.
On the right-hand side, as we face the Belfry, Cranenburg House is situated mid-way on the corner. in 1488 Emperor Maximilian of Austria was incarcerated here. Looking through one of the windows, he was forced tot watch severel of his most loyal liegemen being publicly executed.
To the left of the Cranenburg House, on the opposite corner, we catch sigth of the impressive brick façade of the 15th century Bouckhoute House. This is the oldest home on the square.
Start your visit to Bruges here. Historium is your appointment with history.
On the Market Square you will find the "Historium". Historium, a historical experience attraction, takes you back in time to medieval Bruges (15th century).
This major tourist attraction is a one-hour total experience where decors, film, music and special effects merge into a magical experience that excites your senses. You will be escorted in your own language using audio guides through the themed rooms. You are virtually standing in the middle of historical scenes such as the old port or master painter Van Eyck’s studio. It is more than seeing and hearing. You step into the past and smell, feel, experience what it was like then. A sensual, invigorating experience.
In the immediate vicinity of the Market Square (just around the corner in the Breydelstraat) you will find the beer museum. In arrival you are given your own iPad where you scan different places within the museum, you can either read or listen to the history of beer. The beer tasting is worth the extra money.