You don’t need to wear a watch when you’re in Bruges – every quarter hour the bells of the carillon in the Belfry ring out over the city, signalling the passage of time as they have done for centuries.
The Belfry is a medieval bell tower, first built in 1240. At 83 metres it dominates the skyline of the Markt. Climb 366 narrow, winding steps to the panorama viewing platform and you will be rewarded with expansive views of the city and the lush countryside surrounding it.
The Belfry houses the carillon, a set of 47 bells dating from 1741. The bells of the carillon are usually played by a clockwork mechanism and an enormous cylindrical drum just like the ones in children’s music boxes. For weekly concerts and special occasions however, the carillonneur plays a keyboard with both fists and feet, although the music he creates sounds so light and delicate.
It’s the bells that many tourists come to hear and a twilight performance on a chilly autumnal evening is a magical experience.
PS Note to self – don’t turn the camera when recording!