Bruges is located in the Belgium province of West-Flanders that is approximately 2 hours away from Utrecht (Holland). In the 9th century this town was conquered by the Vikings, that's why the name of the city is likely to come from the Scandinavian word 'bryggia' that means 'port'. Bruges is situated not far from the North Sea, so it has become quite an important international trade centre. Later, in the Middle Ages, a big wall was built around Bruges.
This is one of the main places of interest in Bruges. It was founded in the 13th century, though the majority of white houses appeared only in the 17th and 18th centuries. The arch bridge, which forms the entrance to the palace, was built in 1570. Beguine sisterhood doesn't live there anymore, and this place now belongs to the Benedictines from De Wijngaard convent. The house under the first number serves as a museum, so everyone can get an idea of Beguine's way of life. The kitchen, the dining-room and bedrooms are furnished in the style of the 17th century. Initially, the main chapel was made of wood, but, unfortunately, it burnt down. In 1605 a new chapel in the baroque style was built on its site. Fortunately, it has remained undamaged till our times. Nowadays, everyone is welcome to visit the chapel. The chapel is famous for the oldest image of Our Lady in Bruges. The image was created in 1240. There is also an altar with the alabaster sculpture of Christ of the 17th century on the right.