Basilica of the Holy Blood

Weather :

Timings : 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee for the Basilica
Museum Charges:
Individuals: EUR 2.50
Group (min. 15 members) EUR 2.00

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Basilica of the Holy Blood, Bruges Overview

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is located right next to the City Hall in the Burg Square of Bruges. It is a prominent two-storeyed chapel that holds a lot of significance for Christians all around the world as it is a house to the relic from the time of Christ's crucifixion.

The cylindrical vial is believed to hold a piece of cloth from Jesus Christ's last apparel. The piece of fabric is famously known as soaked with the blood of Christ. The basilica itself was built in the 1150s by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders.The church is also a prominent monument because of its architectural prowess and historical significance. The basilica has been continuously renovated since its establishment. The church attracts a lot of travellers - religious and not, because of its cultural, architectural and historical value to the experience of the city of Bruges. The vial, extremely protected inside the basilica, is allowed outside its walls only on the Ascension Day when the basilica holds a Procession of the Holy Blood. One can expect to be in awe of the age-old sculptures, murals, statues, artworks and paintings exhibited around the basilica and in the Museum.

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Basilica of the Holy Blood History

The Basilica of the Holy Good was constructed in the early 12th century by the Count of Flanders, Thierry of Alsace as a private chapel. According to legendary tradition, during the Second Crusade, he was awarded the vial for his bravery by the King of Jerusalem (Baldwin III of Anjou). It is through this that the relic now rests in the basilica that was built by Thierry of Alsace. Another account of its history maintains that the first mention of the vial was made in 1250, years and years after the Second Crusade. There already existed a relic of the Holy Bloody in the Maria Chapel in Buocolin during this time. This account mentions that during the Fourth Crusade when Constantinople fell, Baldwin IX, grandson of Thierry of Alsace, was made emperor of the Latin Empire that replaced the Byzantine Empire. He then sent the relic (looted from the Maria Chapel) back to his home county Burges, and it is in this manner that the vial holding Christ's blood came to rest in the Basilica of the Holy Good. The design of the vial points to a Constantinople/Byzantine craftsmanship.

Basilica of the Holy Blood Architecture

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic Church that consists of two chapels - the lower Romanesque chapel of St. Basil and the upper venerated chapel of the Holy Blood.

The lower chapel is the only well preserved Romanesque monument in West Flanders. It is house to a few architectural marvels: a 12th century tympanum of the baptism of St. Basil at the doorway, an iconographic 14th-century sculpture of Madonna and the Child in the right nave, 20th century wooden statues of Jesus on the Cold Stone and Pieta, a 16th century addition of the Chapel of Saint Yves left to the choir, relics of St. Basil and Charles the Good (Count of Flanders), and a black marble artwork from the 16th century.  The brick staircase, of Renaissance style, connecting the two floors rebuilt in 1832, 4m backwards and is gilded with statues of Archduchess Isabella of Burgundy, Mary of Burgundy, Thiery of Alsace and Philip of Alsace while the medallions honour Alber VII and Maximillian III, Archdukes of Austria, Margaret of York and Sibylla of Anjou.

The upper fancier chapel for which the basilica is known keeps the rock-crystal vial. The vial is set inside a glass cylinder on the sides of which two golden crowns and angels provide an ethereal glow to the vial. The date 13 May 1388 in the Roman numbers is engraved upon the vial. The upper chapel, initially built in the Romanesque fashion, was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 15th century, following neo-Gothic renovations in the 19th century. The first floor is decorated with murals; a large mural depicting the journey of the vial is central to the chapel. Above this, the Mystery of the Cross is wall-painted. Other architectural spectacles on this floor are: stained glass windows depicting sovereigns of Flanders (from Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy to Archduchess Maria Theressa of Austria, Holy Roman Empress); a pulpit from the 18th century; a high altar depicting the Last Supper and other various elements of a basilica are also found here (processional bell, sunscreen, tabernacle, alter and so on).

Basilica of the Holy Blood Timings

Mass is held every day at 11:00 AM (except Mondays).
Veneration Timings: Morning after 11:00AM (also on Mondays); Evening from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Adoration Timings: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (Every Wednesdays only).

How To Reach Basilica of the Holy Blood

The church is located right in the centre of the city, Bruges. There are well-connected roads that help in travelling from one place to another in the town. 

Nearest Bus Stop: Brugge Wollestraat, 8000 Brugge, Belgium (120 m from the Basilica of the Holy Blood)

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