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Church of Our Lady
church in Bruges
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Church of Our Lady
church in Bruges
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Mariastraat
Bruges
Belgium

jtucker's picture

Contributor

If you find yourself cruising through Bruges, Belgium and need a break from exploring or getting nautical on a canal boat tour, a visit to the Church of Our Lady is in order.

It’s pretty hard to miss, and totally sticks out like a sore thumb. This church took two centuries (13th to 15th) to build. It remains the tallest structure in the city (standing at 400 feet tall) and the second tallest brick building in the world. We can only hope that an earthquake won't hit Belgium anytime soon…

There is art sprinkled all over this church but the most famous and cherished piece that lies within these walls is the Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo. There are also two bronze tomb sculptures that hold the decaying bodies of Mary of Burgundy (who died from falling off her horse) and her father Charles the Bold.

The church is also featured heavily in the dark comedy In Bruges, starring Colin Farrel. It's a must see for anyone who doesn't mind a little tragic violence in their architecture-studded feature film.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Church of Our Lady, Bruges

The Church of Our Lady (Dutch: Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) in Bruges, Belgium, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.

Its tower, at 115.6 metres (379 ft) in height, remains the tallest structure in the city and the second tallest brickwork tower in the world (the tallest being the St. Martin's Church in Landshut, Germany).

In the choir space behind the high altar are the tombs of Charles the Bold, last Valois Duke of Burgundy, and his daughter, the duchess Mary. The gilded bronze effigies of both father and daughter repose at full length on polished slabs of black stone. Both are crowned, and Charles is represented in full armor and wearing the decoration of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

The altarpiece of the large chapel in the southern aisle enshrines the most celebrated art treasure of the church—a white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child created by Michelangelo around 1504. Probably meant originally for Siena Cathedral, it was purchased in Italy by two Brugean merchants, the brothers Jan and Alexander Mouscron, and in 1514 donated to its present home. The sculpture was twice recovered after being looted by foreign occupiers—French revolutionaries c. 1794 and Nazi Germans in 1944. Close to the Michelangelo statue important Brugeans are buried such as Françoise de Haveskercke, buried next to her husband in the black tomb of the Haveskercke family on the right side of the statue.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Church of Our Lady, Bruges.