A city like out of a picture book

Categories: Belgium Gent

Ghent is situated at the confluence of the Scheldt and Leie not far from Brussels and Antwerp. The Belgian city with about 248,000 inhabitants is world-famous for its medieval old town and offers numerous achritectonic and cultural highlights such as the Count's Castle, the Ghent Belfry, the St. Bavo Cathedral or the Blandinberg Book Tower.
Ghent - medieval cathedral© TTstudio / Fotolia

Rich through the cloth trade
The city developed through the cloth trade to one of the most important and largest cities in Europe. The flax and linen production as well as the trade and grain stacking rights in the port made Ghent one of the richest cities on the continent. After an economic decline, the city rose again towards the end of the 18th century due to early industrialisation.

A city like out of a picture book

Ghent inspires with great historical sights. The most famous is the Ghent Belfry. It dates from the 14th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city centre can be admired on foot or during a boat trip through the numerous canals. There are fantastic views of the medieval mansions, the guild houses and other architectural highlights. The diversity of Ghent's architecture is unique. Especially in the evening, it looks stunningly beautiful in the light of the extensive city lighting. A total of over 9,800 buildings are on the list of listed buildings.

The silhouette of Ghent is dominated by the "three towers": These are the 95-metre high Ghent Belfry, the tower of the mighty St. Bavo Cathedral and the Scheldt Gothic-style Sint-Niklaaskerk of the Kornmarkt. The cathedral also houses the world-famous Ghent Altar, designed by Jan von Eyck. With its enigmatic and symbolic images revolving around the Lamb of God, it is one of the most complex sacred works of art of the Middle Ages.

Since the 1930s there has been another tower: the Blandinberg Book Tower. It was designed by the architect Henry von de Velde. Not far from the Belfry is also the late Gothic Ghent City Hall. More recent are the Palace of Justice and the Ghent Opera House. In the old town you can find many magnificent houses of the wealthy Ghent cloth and linen merchants. They are located for example at the Graslei or the Korenlei. Among the most beautiful are the corn knife house and the old meat hall.

Remains of the old city wall are the Rabot, a lock gate, and Peperbus. A highlight like out of a picture book is the Grafenburg (Gravensteen). The castle of the Counts of Flanders is one of the largest and best preserved moated castles in Europe. The Vrijdag market is one of the most famous squares in Ghent. The weekly market takes place here on Fridays. After shopping, you can relax with a local beer in one of the pubs.

Surrounded by small alleys with playful house fronts, it is always worth a visit, even if you don't feel like shopping. The historic beguinage is also worth seeing. The Oud Sint-Elisabethbegijnhof, the Nieuw Sint-Elisabethbegijnhof and the Klein Begijnhof Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Ter Hoyen are on the Unesco World Heritage List along with the Belfry. One of the most important historical buildings in Ghent is also the 13th century Dominican monastery Het Pand.
Ghent - At dawn© TTstudio / Fotolia

Culinary delights

Ghent is not only an architectural pearl, the city is also known for its culinary delights. Whether it's delicious Belgian waffles, the famous French fries or the fine Belgian chocolates: Ghent is one of the most beautiful cities in the world next to Bruges.

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