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Stained Glass Windows - STAINED GLASS in BRUGES

STAINED GLASS in BRUGES (Illustration) Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Geography Medieval Times Philosophy Visual Arts

Sint-Salvator Cathedral, in Bruges, has survived the ravages of time and includes the stained-glass windows depicted in this image by George Reader.  It is online via his photostream at Flickr.

 

Time has stopped, it is said, in the medieval town of Bruges (or, Brugge, as it's known in Flemish). This quaint Belgian city, home to the world's first stock exchange, has retained its charm throughout many centuries. The town's center, (Grote Markt), is a World Heritage site.

Known as a "Venice of the North," Bruges' canals once provided a natural connection between the city and the North Sea. Prospering as a result, Bruges became a commercial powerhouse and a trade center. Then, hundreds of years ago, nature removed that direct path to the sea when the Zwin estuary (this is a power-point link) silted over. Without a way to ship their goods, merchants left the city.

As the industrial revolution passed it by, Bruges remained a medieval town. Becoming the poorest city in the country, however, ultimately led to renewed prosperity (from modern tourism). Without enough wealth to rebuild, the people were "stuck with" the past. Today, that is part of the town's allure.

Although not all buildings are from the Middle Ages, new construction maintains its Gothic appearance. Modern and ancient seamlessly blend, combining new (like the Bruges-Zeebrugge Canal, once again connecting city and sea) with old (such as stained-glass windows housed in medieval churches). For example:

  • Saint Baselius Chapel (now known as Basilica of the Holy Blood) was built between 1134 and 1157. A relic (brought to the church in the twelfth or thirteenth century) was an object of veneration for medieval pilgrims. Today's visitors marvel at the beauty of its interior and colored windows.

In the seventeenth century, Belgium's neighbor to the north - The Netherlands - experienced its Golden Age. Dominating world trade helped rich Dutch patrons to commission works of art, including stained-glass windows.

 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5139stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2008

Updated Last Revision: Mar 18, 2017


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