The western end of the stadhuis morphs into the Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed. The basilica takes its name from a phial supposedly containing a few drops of Christ’s blood that was brought here after the 12th-century Crusades. The right-hand door leads upstairs to a colourfully adorned chapel where the relic is hidden behind a flamboyant silver tabernacle and brought out for pious veneration at 2pm daily.
Also upstairs is the basilica’s one-room treasury, where you’ll see the jewel-studded reliquary in which the phial is mounted on Ascension Day for Bruges’ biggest annual parade, the Heilig-Bloedprocessie. Downstairs, entered via a different door, is the basilica’s contrasting bare-stone 12th-century Romanesque chapel, a meditative place that’s almost devoid of decoration.