September 29, 2015

1924 BELGIUM (West Flanders) - Hallentoren belfry and halls in Bruges - part of Belfries of Belgium and France (UNESCO WHS)


This belfry is one of the 56 belfries of Belgium and France, inscribed by UNESCO on the list of World Heritage Sites as Belfries of Belgium and France about which I wrote here. Added to the Market Square around 1240, when Bruges was prospering as an important centre of the Flemish cloth industry, the belfry of Bruges, or Belfort, is one of the city's most prominent symbols. It formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. In the middle of the Market Square stands a statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, historical figures from Flanders' past.

A narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps leads to the top of the 83m-high building, which leans about a metre to the east. To the sides and back of the tower stands the former market hall, a rectangular building only 44m broad but 84m deep, with an inner courtyard. The belfry, accordingly, is also known as the Halletoren (tower of the halls). After a devastating fire in 1280, the tower was largely rebuilt. The octagonal upper stagey was added between 1483 and 1487, and capped with a wooden spire, which was reduced to ashes  in 1493 by a lightning strike. Rebuilt, it fell again victim to flames in 1741.

The bells in the tower regulated the lives of the city dwellers, announcing the time, fire alarms, work hours, and a variety of social, political, and religious events. In the 16th century the tower received a carillon, allowing the bells to be played by means of a hand keyboard. There were 48 bells at the end of the 19th century, but today the bells number 47.

About the stamps
The first stamp depicts Priory of Hunnegem in Geraardsbergen, and was issued in 1976. The second, depicting a cheese saleswoman, is part of the series Traditional Occupations, issued on December 13, 1975, with the ocasion of Stampexhibition THEMABELGA. The third is part of the series The Sea, designed by Oscar Bonnevalle and issued on February 6, 1988. About the fourth stamp I didn't know anything. The last one was issued to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Workers International Sports Organisation in 1973 and shows the poster for the first international meeting in Ghent in  1913.

References
Belfry of Bruges - Wikipedia

Sender: Johan Vandamme (direct swap)
Sent from Wevelgem-Gullegem (West Flanders / Belgium), on 21.09.2015

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