The Markt (Market) is the social and economic heart of Bruges. Markets have been held here for a thousand years now. It is an important meeting place, and the square provides a splendid backdrop for historical parades and processions. The view from the Markt is dominated by the Hallen (Market Halls) with their tower. the Halletoren.
Originally the city council used to meet here and the civic statutes were kept in the tower. In the Hallen goods were negotiated over and stored. The clock regulated the daily schedule and the tower was used as a lookout post. Nowadays the main value of the Belfort (Belfry) is as a symbolic icon of the city's credentials as a tourist attraction. The oldest residence dates from the fifteenth century, it is the modern-looking corner house with screen facade, weathervane, compass rose and copper globe. The latter symbolises the notional meridian that runs across the market square.
The Burg is close to the Markt and is generally regarded as the very birthplace of the city. It was here that the first Count of Flanders had fortifications built around which the city was later to grow up. For many centuries, it served as the centre of administration and government. It thus offers a magnificent overview of some ten centuries of Western European architectural history.