(Flemish: brugge, bridges)
City in West Flanders, Belgium.
It prospered during the Crusades, at which time the relics of Saint Basil and of the Holy Blood were brought there.
In 1356 it was the chief emporium of the Hanseatic League.
In 1384 it passed to the House of Burgundy.
Its decline, which began under Austrian rule (1477), was hastened by the natural closing up of the harbor, the rise of Antwerp, the religious disturbances of the Reformation, and the severe rule of Charles V.
It suffered further under the Duke of Alva, and in 1578 was captured by the Calvinists who proscribed Catholic worship until 1584.
It is the seat of the diocese of Bruges, and includes among buildings of Catholic interest a 12th-century church of Notre Dame, Cathedral of Saint Sauveur, and chapel of Saint Basil.
New Catholic Dictionary