Bruges (Dutch Brugge, French Bruges) is the capital and with about 117,000 inhabitants the largest city in the province of West Flanders in Belgium. Bruges is also bishop of the Catholic Church for the diocese of Bruges. The medieval town was founded in 2000 by the UNESCO for World Heritage site declared. In 2002, Bruges was European Capital of Culture. Bruges is home to the prestigious College of Europe (College of Europe) and has an important seaport in the urban district of Zeebrugge.
In the 2nd and 3 Century was located on the territory of Bruges is a Gallo-Roman settlement. The inhabitants of these settlements were not only farmers but also traders, the contacts with England and with the rest of Gaul were talking. In the middle of the 9th Century built Baldwin Iron Arm of the fortress on the Castle Square today, to protect against attacks by the Normans. Bruges got its city charter in 1128.
In the 15th Century Bruges was of Burgundian dukes ruled that brought the city culturally, architecturally and economically flourished. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, Bruges was the richest city in northern Europe. From this time there is a cityscape as a backdrop to one of the masters of the André Madonna Marie-created image. At the end of the 15th Century silted up the Zwin and cut the town off to the direct access to the sea, whereupon the Burgundian court also withdrew from the city. Emperor Maximilian I limited the rights of the city, the leader of the city in Flanders was at Antwerp made.
The city was impoverished, and from 1524 to 1713 under Spanish rule. The Huguenot wars supported further to fall. In the city there was a standstill for centuries; successively ruled here, the Imperial House of Habsburg (1713-1795), France (1795 to 1815) and the Netherlands (until 1830) of Bruges. Flanders and Bruges was then that some of the new kingdom of Belgium. At the 19th Century rise of industrialization, the city had virtually no part.
Only toward the end of the 19th Century Bruges received some attention as a cultural city, as the writer Georges Rodenbach, the city in his novel Bruges la Morte described. As a 1907 port to the port of Zeebrugge was created, received Bruges new economic opportunities. Since 1949, houses the College of Europe Bruges (College of Europe) as a prestigious European university, in 1960 the city was awarded the Europe Prize awarded for their outstanding efforts in the European integration idea. Today Bruges is benefiting from the centuries-long standstill, as the medieval city center has remained undeveloped and forms the basis for tourism.