On the west side of The Markt are the buildings constructed as
residences and places of business for the wealthy merchants
of Bruges when this was a major trading centre for the
region. Details worked into the facade of the
buildings such as snails, flowers, cats etc refer to the
name of the house or owner or their original functions.
Most important are the two houses on both sides of the St. Amandsstraat : house Bouchoute, to
its left, with a screen wall from the 15th century, is the oldest house on the
market. The octagonal weathervane was added in 1682 by the city to the fašade for the
trade and sailors. Top of the house is a golden globe, placed there in 1837 to
help determine exact time in Bruges.
In the first half of the 19th century, not
all cities the same hour. After the construction of the railway in Belgium and
the rapid expansion of the railway, it was desirable that all stations would use
the same hour. This was from 41 locations in Belgium the exact meridian
determined. This was done by means of a so-called ball of body mass . Bruges is
the only place where a ball is on a building to see. The exact meridian from
home Bouchoute with copper nails in the road surface.
Finally, it was in the house called Craenenburg which is
right of the St. Amandsstraat, that Maximilian of Austria was captured in 1488 by the
local militia. Until recently the house had a wooden facade but in 1955 a new neo-Gothic facade