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West Side

On the west side of The Markt are the buildings constructed as residences and places of business for the wealthy merchants of Bruges when this was a major trading centre for the region.  Details worked into the facade of the buildings such as snails, flowers, cats etc refer to the name of the house or owner or their original functions.

Most important are the two houses on both sides of the St. Amandsstraat : house Bouchoute, to its left, with a screen wall from the 15th century, is the oldest house on the market. The octagonal weathervane was added in 1682 by the city to the fa´┐Żade for the trade and sailors. Top of the house is a golden globe, placed there in 1837 to help determine exact time in Bruges.

In the first half of the 19th century, not all cities the same hour. After the construction of the railway in Belgium and the rapid expansion of the railway, it was desirable that all stations would use the same hour. This was from 41 locations in Belgium the exact meridian determined. This was done by means of a so-called ball of body mass . Bruges is the only place where a ball is on a building to see. The exact meridian from home Bouchoute with copper nails in the road surface.

Finally, it was in the house called Craenenburg which is to the right of the St. Amandsstraat, that Maximilian of Austria was captured in 1488 by the local militia. Until recently the house had a wooden facade but in 1955 a new neo-Gothic facade was constructed.


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