Situated at a trading crossroads in northern Flanders, Bruges became a commercial capital from the 12C. Its wealth made it beautiful - the centre is now a Unesco World Heritage site - with churches, monuments and fine houses built around a network of canals, giving it the nickname Venice of the North. Bruges is also the birthplace of Flemish painting, and has long been renowned for its flags and lacemaking, and its Ascension Day festivities culminating in the procession of the Holy Blood.
When you take a tour of Bruges, your guide is certain to draw your attention to the Bonifaciusbrug (The Bridge of St Boniface). You will be told that this quaint medieval structure is the city's oldest bridge. But scan the nearby shops selling antique postcards and engravings of the city and you will not find any that depict the bridge. Why? Because it isn't medieval at all. The city's oldest bridge was erected here in 1910 !