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Bruges - To See & Do - Churches

Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heiligbloed Basiliek)
Both Lower and Upper Chapels date back to the 12th century and were built in Roman style, but it is the Upper Chapel that was converted into a neo-gothic style in the 19th centuries and has beautiful stained glass windows, intricate wall paintings and decorated wooden ceiling. The Upper Chapel is also home to the treasured relic of the Holy Blood, a crystal phial containing a few drops of Christ's blood, brought back around 1200 from the Holy Land after the Second Crusade. The phial stored in a silver tabernacle is exhibited every Friday. The adjacent museum displays a collection of vestments, paintings and artefacts. 13 Burg. For more information visit

The Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwkere)
This 13th century church with a 122 metre tower was built over three centuries in various different styles. Since 1900, all renovations have tried to re-establish the old medieval style and the church now houses an impressive array of art treasures. Michelangelo's wonderful sculpture, Madonna and Child, is one of the highlights. In the choir are the magnificent mausoleums of Charles the Bold and his daughter, Mary of Burgundy, along with some remarkable painted tombs.  Closed Mondays. Mariastraat.

St Saviours Cathedral (St Salvator Kathedral)
Parts of the building date from the 12th and 13th centuries, though the church was originally founded in the 10th century. It is the oldest parish church in Bruges and has been a cathedral since 1834. The enormous west tower 325ft tall is a combination of period styles from the 12th century Romanesque to the steeple added in 1871 to make the tower higher so as not to be overshadowed by the neighbouring Church of Our Lady. There are several paintings, beautiful wall tapestries and medieval tombs. St Salvatorskerkhof .

Beguine Convent (Begijnhof)
Founded in 1245 by the Countess of Flanders, Margaret of Constantinople, as a haven for the beguines (lay nuns). In the 1930's it became a monastery for Benedictine nuns who still live there today. The pretty row of small white houses around an inner lawn is a real haven of tranquillity. One of the houses has been transformed into an interesting museum illustrating how the beguines used to live.

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