Bruges is a city where Europe’s medieval past lives on. Suspended in time centuries ago, its historic center is a mosaic of willow-shaded canals lazily wending their way around ancient homes and public buildings. Humpbacked stone bridges lead to narrow cobbled backstreets that open onto picturesque squares and rows of whitewashed almshouses. Roofscapes of high-stepped gables bristle with towers and steeples. With most of its medieval architecture intact, the 430 hectare (1.6 square mile) center of Bruges was designated a United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 2000.