Discover two of Belgium's cities in the region of Flanders rich in historical architecture, distinctive art, not to mention chocolate, frites, and beer. Start your journey in stately Brussels; the capital of Belgium as well as the European Union. In the fairy tale town of Bruges, you'll have a walking tour through the cobbled streets, lined with canals, churches, historical towers, and quaint cafes. Sometimes called a "medieval pearl" Bruges is packed with great restaurants and fascinating attractions.
Supplier: Avanti Destinations
Brussels's Upper and a Lower Town conjure up images of important buildings and long avenues and small, dark streets. Lower Town, the old Flemish quarter, contains the city's most famous sites, including its greatest landmark, Grand Place, and the Manneken Pis. It's also the location of around ten churches relatively close to each other; most of them from the Flemish Renaissance and Baroque periods. In Upper Town, you'll find King's palace, royal squares and various palaces from the eighteenth-century neo-classical Austrian period. The built-up business and residential areas are scrupulously broken up by frequent patches of green parks, which help account for the city's sedate, unfrenzied atmosphere. Around the city center are congregated many small, carefully laid-out parks that provide settings for statues and national monuments.
Because of the export of high-quality cloths, Bruges became prosperous and rich. The remaining buildings still let you feel how rich Bruges was. Museums house a lot of fabulous paintings from this time. At the end of the 15th century Bruges was prosperous because of the silting up of the coastal area in Zwin, now a natural park near Knokke that can be discovered by bike during the summer. Walking in the city you can feel Bruges's history. Bruges became poor and was put back in the spotlight by Georges Rodenbach's novel "Bruges la Morte". Bruges was reborn as an Art City, well preserved, never severely damaged. The city is admired every day by thousands of tourists from all over the world. In 2002 Bruges was been chosen together with Salamanca in Spain as culture cities of Europe.
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