St Saviour’s Cathedral, Bruges, Belgium

Saint Saviour’s Cathedral, also known as Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, is an exceptional edifice in the old town of Bruges with the earliest parts of its structure dating back to the 10th century. The cathedral was not originally built to serve that function rather it was a parish church, as Bruges already had St Donatian’s Cathedral located opposite the town hall. In 1116 a fire destroyed the original church but it was restored in 1127. In 1250 the construction of much of what we can see today began and lasted well over a century. The cathedral was built in the Gothic Schelde style of the 14th century and is decorated with murals from the end of the 13th century. At the end of the 18th century the French, who were occupying Bruges at the time, removed the bishop who lived at St Donatians Cathedral and burnt the building.

In 1834 after Belgium became an independent country, a new bishop was installed in Bruges and Saint Saviours gained the status of cathedral. The church was still rather small at the time and substantial alterations were made, including the building of a higher tower. Only five years after gaining this new status the roof of the cathedral perished in yet another fire in 1839. The city hired an English architect named Robert Chantreel who was tasked with restoring and improving upon the cathedral The tower was expanded upon its 12th century base, and somewhat controversially at the time, was designed it in a Neo-Romanesque style. The cathedral is just one of Bruges’ many staggeringly beautiful buildings, and is well worth a visit.

GPS: 51.2055, 3.22155

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