Bruges is the chief town of the western Flanders, situated in the north western
part of Belgium.
The city has a population of about 120.000 inhabitants and is the “best hold” medieval city of Europe and most visited of Belgium.
Bruges origin dates back to the IX century a.C., but after the 11th century it became one of the most important centers of Europe for its commercial aspect as well as for its production of linen and cotton goods.
In the XIII century Bruges became a free mercantile republic and member of an association of some cities of northern Europe.
In 1302 Bruges was an important center against the Flemish Revolution but in 1384 it was part of the dukedom of Bourgogne.
Unfortunately in the XVI century there was the beginning of its decadence because of the silting (covering with sand) of its estuary. This caused the closure of the communication ways for trade that had made Bruges famous until that unpleasant event. Furthermore the city was conquered by the Spain.
Bruges went through some centuries of poverty but in the XX century the beauty of its streets and channels gave back its celebrity all over the world. In 2002 it was even named the European Capital of Culture.
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