A beguinage in the Middle Ages was known as a place of refuge for women in danger, those of ill-repute or simply lay-women who sought something other than a secular life. Through a clearing of poplar trees and daffodil-laden fields, the peculiar white houses of Bruges' Beguinage can be seen. This utterly serene beguinage dates back to the 13th century, a time when more and more women were committing themselves to a life of piety. The buildings dotting the tranquil expanse are newer as compared to the actual institution, and date back to the 19th century. Although the beguines no longer reside here, the beguinage is still home to several nuns of the Benedictine order. It diligently promotes silence in its environs, a reason why there is always an air of quietude in its surroundings.