The gigantic open space of Markt is lined with venerable facades swathed in heraldic banners; together with the adjacent Burg , these two great squares formed the commercial and administrative heart of Bruges and are today the focal point of its sightseeing adventure. Most of what you’ll want to see is less than 10 minutes’ walk away from these two squares.

Other Sights around the Markt

The sculpture group in the center of the Markt depicts a pair of Flemish heroes, butcher Jan Breydel and weaver Pieter de Coninck. The two led an uprising in 1302 against the wealthy merchants and nobles who dominated the guilds, and went on to win an against-the-odds victory over French knights later that same year in the Battle of the Golden Spurs . The small, castlelike building called the Craenenburg (it’s now a restaurant) at the corner of Sint-Amandsstraat was used by a rebellious citizenry to imprison the Habsburg Crown Prince and future Emperor Maximilian of Austria in 1488 over a small matter of increased taxes. In revenge for that humiliation, Maximilian later wounded Bruges’s pride by transferring his capital to Ghent and hit the city’s pocketbook by transferring its trading rights to Antwerp. The large neo-Gothic Provinciaal Hof (Provincial Palace) dates from the 1800s and houses the government of the province of West Flanders.

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