A view of one of the many canals that flow through the medieval city of Bruges, and the Belfry. Bruges, sometimes known as the Venice of the North, has a population of over 117,000, of which 20,000 live in the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site city center. The city was founded by Vikings in the 9th century, and from the 12th to the 15th century, Bruges become a major trading center because of its location near the North Sea and its canals, but in the 1500s, its major channel began to silt, and Bruges fell into despair until tourism and a new port brought new life in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Belfry, seen in the background at 272 feet, is a famous bell tower built in the 13th century. Inside the tower, 48 bells can be found along with 366 steps to the top. In 2008, a film staring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson was filmed almost entirely in the city, and was not surprisingly titled In Bruges.