With nearly 1400 years of history, Belgium’s town of Ghent has a lot to offer in terms of tourism because nowhere else you’ll find so much history per square meter in Europe like here.
Ghent indeed was really important centre between year 1000 and year 1500 – it was even bigger than London and up to 1302 ruled by city families who were very successful in trading.
Its history was full of upsides and downsides, but despite it all, in the 19th century it became Europe’s first large industrial centre. In 1913 it was a host of the World Exhibition.
Attractions in Ghent!
Probably the most famous landmark of this amazing city is St. Bavo’s Cathedral, where Charles V was baptized in the year 1500.
It is home to really impressive art pieces, including famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck.
Cathedral is under restoration since 2013, and it’ll show itself in a fresh look after 4 years of intensive work.
The Castle of the Counts
Except this cathedral, Ghent is well known for beautiful castles and fortresses, and Gravensteen – is surely among the most beautiful one in the city and the whole country, as well.
It is the castle of the Counts, with a very interesting history. The place was fortified by Arnulf I making a medieval bastion made of a central wooden building accompanied with other buildings, also made of wood.
In 11th century, wooden parts were replaced with stone. During the centuries, from a centre of a whole region, the Gravensteen lost its function of administrative center of the region.
In 1865 Belgium and the city of Gent started buying the buildings and in 1893 restorations began. The architect was Jozef De Waele and in 1907 Gravensteen once again showed itself to public.
This is the city that is perfectly combining styles from different periods of history, and the best example is the STAM – city museum of Gent – settled in the abbey from the 14th century, with monastery from the 17th century and the 21st century contemporary look.
It is a home of pieces that are giving an insight in city’s past, present and future. Interesting detail are LEGO towers.