Ramparts Bruges


Prologue

 

The old city centre of Bruges is almost completely enclosed by a belt of parks generally known as De Vestingen, or the ramparts. As the name suggests, it actually concerns the old ramparts of the city, which were converted into a very attractive green promenade by a number of landscape architects one and a half century ago. This green belt is more than six kilometres long, has a total surface area of 26 hectares and features lawns, bushes, walking and cycling paths and approximately 3,350 trees.

Water is also omnipresent. To the south-west of the city the original double moat has been preserved. To the east the moat has been deepened and widened into a channel for inland waterway navigation frequently used by freighters and pleasure vessels. To the south the Minnewaterpark constitutes a special urban landscape element. Only to the north-west (Koningin Elisabethlaan, Komvest) the moats were filled in at the end of the 19th century within the scope of urban expansion.

Apart from a constantly changing view and an abundance of plants and trees, people walking along the ramparts can also discover a number of monuments from the past: four medieval city gates, various lock weirs, an ancient fortification tower, an 18th-century stone arched bridge, four windmills as well as two ‘water houses’, which were responsible for the drinking water supply.

Also to be mentioned are the two modern pedestrian bridges dating from 2002, over the Coupure canal and at Kanaaleiland respectively.