Landmark and the highest building in the city
On the edge of the Grote Markt, the central market square of Bruges, the 83-meter-high Belfort (German: Belfry) is not only a beautiful eye-catcher. For an entrance fee of eight euros, you can take advantage of its height and optimal location in the middle of the city for a breathtaking view of Bruges. However, you need to be physically fit to climb the more than 360 steps to the viewing level.
History of the Belfry
The Belfort bell tower was built in the 13th century as part of the market halls of the time. Attached to the cloth halls, the tower had several functions that changed over time. Initially built as a storage facility, it made it clear to visitors to the city at that time what wealth the trading centre of Bruges had at its disposal.
In addition to this open display of economic power, the Belfort also had practical functions. Because of its literally outstanding size, the imposing building served to protect the city by enabling fires within the city or approaching potential attackers to be quickly detected from its top. Thus, the striking of the bell was both a clearly audible warning signal and a symbol of freedom.
Interesting facts about the Belfry
Just a few years after the Belfry was built, its wooden spire burnt down along with the archives inside. The new tower structure survived a good 200 years before it too fell victim to a fire that destroyed the tower bell. The current neo-Gothic tower crown of the Bruges Belfry dates from 1822.
You probably won't spot it right away, but in fact the Belfort is the "leaning tower of Bruges". The tower leans about one metre without its statics suffering.
366 steps up to the viewing platform
For city travellers, the Belfry offers an interesting view of the medieval layout of the city. The platform at the height of the carillon can be reached via 366 steps, from up here you can enjoy the hustle and bustle on the market square or treat yourself to a view of the architectural beauties of the city.
Another incentive to conquer the spiral staircase is the treasury, which YOU can visit before you climb the last steps to the viewing platform at the Glockenspiel. If a larger tour group wants to climb the Belfry before you, there may be minimal waiting times, as a maximum of 70 people are allowed in the tower at any one time.
The square in front of the Belfry is particularly crowded on Wednesdays, Sundays and Sundays at 2.15 pm, when the carillon with 47 bronze bells sounds.