Bruges is one of the most beautiful cities of Belgium. The golden age of the city lasted from the 12th to the 15th century, at that time the most beautiful buildings were constructed and they can be still admired within the limits of the old town. Bruges owes its unique character to architecture. Red-brick churches, tenement houses and public services buildings were built here due to the confluence of two circumstances. First of all, in the Middle Ages the Low Countries authorities decided to forbid building wooden houses in order to prevent disastrous fires from occurring. Secondly, northern Europe lacked stone supplies, which could be used for building new houses. Due to these limitations, red-brick building were erected and today they attract tourists from all over the world.