The Belfry of Bruges is a medieval bell tower in the center of Bruges, Belgium. From centuries past to present day, the tower has enjoyed a steady wave of tourist visits over the years and remains as a major tourist attraction for the city.
Visiting the tower
One of the first things visitors will notice is that this medieval bell tower, originally constructed over 700 years ago, actually leans nearly a full meter toward the east. Once inside, those who choose to take on the challenge of climbing the tower stairs will have the opportunity to pause for a breather and see how things were done in the old treasury where the city's charters, seal, and public funds were kept during the Middle Ages. Upon reaching the pinnacle, following a tiring 366 steps, your efforts will be rewarded with a breathtaking and unforgettable panoramic view of Bruges and its surroundings.
Check out the ringing bells
Historically, the tower bells played an important role in the day-to-day lives of nearly all residents of the city. Before a fire could spread out of control, certain bells tunes were rung to alert residents to take action. Often times, important social events would take place throughout the city and yet again, residents would be informed of just what type of event they could expect. In present times and over the past couple of centuries the number of bells in the tower, as well as their unique use, has adjusted to the changing times. Today, the 47 bells of varying size altogether weigh approximately 27.5 tons and are used primarily to mark the time of day. In 1675, the carillon had a total of 35 bells. After the fire of 1741, a new set of bells was cast - 26 of which are still in use. The bells range in weight from 2 to 11,000 pounds.
Best time to visit
The best time to take a trip to Bruges and up the tower is on a sunny and clear day. Note that the stairwell is quite narrow and circular, so travelers should plan accordingly. Hopefully, you'll experience the chiming of a meaningful messenger or melodic tune, as you make your way to a stunning, panoramic view of Bruges. The stunningly beautiful view of the city and surrounding areas is well worth the fairly exhausting climb and a must-do for visitors, young and old.