Bruge (or Brugge) is one of the best preserved of the medieval cities in Flanders. This may be due to happenstance more than intention. Bruge was a major port for Belgium until the Zwin estuary silted over and Zeebrugge became the main port for Flanders.

Because it lost it’s strategic position in Europe, Bruge was largely ignored by forces during the World Wars and escaped the damage the other cities like Zeebrugge experienced. Because of this, medieval Flanders still exists for tourists on the streets of Bruge.

As you wander you’ll find something to see in every nook and cranny, from a smattering of tulips planted on a barren brick wall, to gorgeous princess turrets that appear at random when you are wandering the streets.

I’m told during a boat tour that the stepped facade that appears on certain buildings was once an indicator of class. The more steps you have, the more money you make (and the higher your class).