• 12-04-2021

You're almost there...


On my corona walk, every day I come across the Nieuwege bridge spanning the Bruges - Ostend canal in Varsenare. When I then enter the towpath towards Bruges, a church tower emerges in the inaccessible distance (at least some 6 kilometres away). Yes, that's where Bruges is. Yes, the tower of Our-Lady’s-Church has appeared above the trees for about 700 years.

What a tower

If you used to approach Bruges from Torhout or Ghent or Kortrijk or, like me, from the direction of Ostend, the first thing you see of the city on a sunny day is this monumental tower. It is indeed the tallest all-brick tower (its pointed roof is also in brick) in Christendom until it is overtaken in 1500 by the tower of the Martinskirche in Landshut. It tells you that you have almost reached your destination. Another hour or so and then you are there. Then you are in Bruges.

122 meters, or not?

122 meters: that's how high the tower of the Our-Lady’s-Church towers above the city of Bruges. Some reference books and tourist sites and almost all Bruges hotel sites mention this legendary height of 122 meters. Legendary? Yes, because according to other sources the tower is only 115 meters high. Just a little less than 7 meters lower! How high is the tower actually? Why the difference? The S-wan Guide can explain this very quickly and easily. (A tip of the veil: Bruges is 7 meters above sea level).

At the risk of your own life

Why are there so few pigeons in Bruges? Well, pigeons stay in the centre of Bruges at their own risk. The City of Bruges employs a few employees to keep the pigeon population under control. You can hear their characteristic call in the morning while they take a tour around the church tower. Who these are? I'll leave it to the S-wang guide to tell you this. I just want to tell you that their favourite food is a nice and tender pigeon ...

Thrown out

During the Second World War there were only three corner turrets at the top of the tower. Indeed, in 1938, a military plane loaded with bombs, hit the tower and crashed into the garden of the Episcopal Palace, fortunately without exploding. It elicited the very pointed remark from the secretary of the diocese: "Many have already been thrown out of here, but it is the first time that one flies in."

Find out more about this grandiose tower and the Church of Our Lady in Bruges during the S-wan walk The Best of Bruges. Or maybe take a tour of the church with a S-wan guide.

Johan

Johan

Guide and admirer of this magnificent church

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