Bruges - Wikipedia
. Golden age (12th-15th centuries) Decline after 1500. 19th century and beyond: revival. Landmarks, arts and culture . Entertainment. Museums and historic sites (non-religious). Sites and landmarks that are religious. Transport in public cities. Policy on town twinning.
Bruges is the capital of West Flanders, the Flemish Region in Belgium. It is located in the northwest corner of the country. It is also the sixth-largest country in terms of population.
The total area of the city is more than 13,840 hectares (138.4km2; 53.44 square miles); 1,075 hectares are located off the coast at Zeebrugge. The historical city centre is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It measures approximately 430 hectares and is oval in form. The total population of the city is 117 073 (1 January 2008).  Around 20,000 people live in the city center. The total population of the metropolitan area includes the outer commuter zone and covers 616 km2 (238 sq miles). 
It is often called the Venice of the North, along with other northern cities that are canal-based like Amsterdam and St Petersburg. Bruges is a major economic center due to its port and was once one the most important commercial cities in the world.  Bruges, a popular tourist destination in Belgium, is also home to the College of Europe, a university-based institute for European Studies. 
In AD 840-875, the place is first recorded as Brvggas, Brvggas or Brvccia. It is later listed as Bruciam, Bruociam (892); Brutgis uico (1012); Bricge (c.1010); as Brugensis (1046); and Brycge (c.1049-1052); Brugias (1072); Brugias (1072); Brugias (1089); and Brugge (1116).