Bruges, (Dutch: Brugge), Belgium, a historic city and the capital of West Flanders province. Bruges is about six miles (10 km) from the North Sea port of Zeebrugge, with which it is connected by a canal. The city has many canals and takes its name from its bridges, more than 50 of which cross its canals. (The word brugis Dutch for "bridge.") During the 14th century Bruges was one of the chief trading and financial centers of northern Europe. The city was the center of the Flemish woolen industry. Bruges declined shortly before 1500 when its channel to the North Sea became clogged with silt.

Bruges still has a medieval appearance. Notable buildings are the Cathedral of the Holy Savior, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Church of NĂ´tre-Dame. The market hall has a belfry nearly 300 feet (90 m) high, with an excellent carillon. The city has many early Flemish paintings. Manufactured products include laces, linens, metal goods, furniture, and beer. (For picture, see Belgium.)

Bruges was founded in about the seventh century. During the Middle Ages it was the home of the counts of Flanders.

Population: 116,559.