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Brugge Religious Building/Site/Shrine

The towering spire of the plain Gothic Church of Our Lady, begun about 1220, rivals the Belfry as Bruges's symbol. At 381 feet high, it is the tallest brick construction in the world, but brick cannot be sculpted like stone; hence the tower's somewhat severe look. Thankfully, the scaffold that has blighted the exterior for so many years has at last come down, though some internal renovation continues. The art-history highlight here is the Madonna and Child statue carved by Michelangelo, an early work. The great sculptor sold it to a merchant from Bruges when the original client failed to pay. It was once stolen by Napoléon, and then again during World War II by Nazi leader Hermann Göring; now the white-marble figure sits safely in a black-marble niche behind an altar at the end of the south aisle. The choir museum contains many 13th- and 14th-century polychrome tombs, as well as two mausoleums: that of Mary of Burgundy, who died in 1482 at the age of 25 after a fall from her... READ MORE

The towering spire of the plain Gothic Church of Our Lady, begun about 1220, rivals the Belfry as Bruges's symbol. At 381 feet high, it is the tallest brick construction in the world, but brick cannot be sculpted like stone; hence the tower's somewhat severe look. Thankfully, the scaffold that has blighted the exterior for so many years has at last come down, though some internal renovation continues. The art-history highlight here is the Madonna and Child statue carved by Michelangelo, an early work. The great sculptor sold it to a merchant from Bruges when the original client failed to pay. It was once stolen by Napoléon, and then again during World War II by Nazi leader Hermann Göring; now the white-marble figure sits safely in a black-marble niche behind an altar at the end of the south aisle. The choir museum contains many 13th- and 14th-century polychrome tombs, as well as two mausoleums: that of Mary of Burgundy, who died in 1482 at the age of 25 after a fall from her horse; and that of her father, Charles the Bold, killed in 1477 while laying siege to Nancy in France. Mary was as well loved in Bruges as her husband, Maximilian of Austria, was loathed. Her finely chiseled effigy captures her beauty. Note that while you can enter the church for free, you'll need a ticket to see most of the major artworks, including the Michelangelo statue.

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Religious Building/Site/Shrine Silversea Cruise

Quick Facts

Dijver and Mariastraat
Brugge, Flanders  B8000, Belgium

050-448–711

www.museabrugge.be

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Church free; choir museum €6, Closed Mon.

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