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Bruges - Belgium

The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The city's total population is 117,073. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 616 km² and has a total of 255,844 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.

Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North".

Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port. At one time it was the "chief commercial city" of the world.

Bruges has most of its medieval architecture intact. The historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

Many of its medieval buildings are notable, including the Church of Our Lady, whose brick spire reaches 122.3 m (401.25 ft), making it one of the world's highest brick towers/buildings. The sculpture Madonna and Child, which can be seen in the transept, is believed to be Michelangelo's only sculpture to have left Italy within his lifetime.

Bruges' most famous landmark is its 13th-century belfry, housing a municipal carillon comprising 48 bells. The city still employs a full-time carillonneur, who gives free concerts on a regular basis.

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Additional Photos by Javier Fernandez de Prado (castellano) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 137 W: 2 N: 185] (791)
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