The real charm of Bruges lies in its medieval history as a center and hub of the wealthy cloth and tapestry making industry. Its ornate houses, charming and picturesque canals and medieval heroes are witnesses to this rich past.
Bruges became the birthplace of what is now known as the Flemish Primitives, of which Jan van Eyck (c. 1395 – 1441) and Hans Memling ( c.1430 − 11 August 1494) were key representatives. Their presence in Bruges encouraged the imigration of more artistic talent. Bruges produced new art, answer to the early Renaissance painting.
The statue of Jan Breydel, a butcher, and Pieter de Coninck, a weaver, faces the Belfry. These Bruges heroes led a popular uprising seeking more rights and freedom for the city and its inhabitants from the ruling overlords in France which culminated in the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302.