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The impressive row of towers

Ghent is definitely a very romantic city

A detail from the Gravensteen fortress

The main canal of Ghent, with the Gravensteen fortress in the back

During the Gentse Feesten, the city is buzzing

Even in the park you are surrounded by beautiful architecture

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Ghent: city of medieval splendor

 

Walking through the centre of Ghent, the medieval wealth shows on every corner, in every building: richly decorated façades, the gigantic cathedrals and impressive bridges and fortresses. Fortunately, all this beauty from the 15th Century is preserved and maintained. It makes Ghent a fairy tale destination, but one that hasn’t lost touch with modernity. Ghent has a lot to offer for shoppers and food lovers.  

The most impressive and absolute must-see building in Ghent is the Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. The enormous church, which dates from 942, is home to many art treasures. The most famous one is “The Mighty Lamb” by the Van Eyck brothers. Finished in 1432, this altar piece is considered to be one of the most beautiful paintings of the Middle Ages. When you are at Saint Bavo’s, also admire the crypt and the many marble statues. You can climb the tower as well and have a great view over the city. This is a great opportunity to see the “tower row” from above: the tower of the Saint Bavo’s is in a perfect line with the towers of the Saint Nicholas Church and Belfort, built in 1380 to symbolize the autonomy of Ghent.      

Another Ghent highlight is the fortress Gravensteen. Built in 1180, it was first primarily in use as a safe borough where the dukes of Flanders stayed when they came over to Ghent. Later, it was used as a prison and a court house. Now, you can visit the Gravensteen and enjoy the impressive building.    

One of the best times to go to Ghent is during the festival the “Gentse Feesten” (Ghent Feasts), every year in July. The Gentse Feesten is one of the biggest festivals in Europe and most locals take a week of holidays to attend it. For ten days, the centre is buzzing with music, street theatre and parades. Don’t miss out on the medieval parade, with a large number of participants dressed up as historical characters from that era. It is usually on the second Friday of the festival.  

A great way to explore the city is by canal tour. At the Leie, the main canal of Ghent, you will find lots of boat tour companies and experienced guides who can tell you all about Ghent’s impressive history.