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Tourist attractions Ghent

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  • 1 Belfry and Cloth Hall of Ghent Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    The massive outline of the 91m-high belfry, topped by a dragon, symbolises the power of Ghent's medieval guilds. Inside, the chamber was the seat of the town's privileges and liberties The upper platform offers a fine view of the city. Built in the 1..

  • 2 Quai aux Herbes Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    This was Ghent's Medieval harbour site. Herb Quay is lined with 12C-17C houses of pure architectural styles. Especially note the 16C Masons' Hall, 15C first Grain Weighers' Hall, Romanesque Scaldian Stage Hall, the smallest house in town called Toll ..

  • 3 Cathédrale St-Bavon Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    Sint-Baafsplein 1

    Despite various influences, this Gothic cathedral gives an overall impression of harmony and solemn grace. The top of the tower offers a wide view of Ghent and its surroundings. Inside, the 16C nave is sober but harmonious, with its ribbed vaulting. ..

  • 4 Musée des Beaux-Arts Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    Fernand Scribedreef 1, Citadelpark

    This museum lies on the edge of Citadelpark and its fine bandstand (1885). It contains rich collections of ancient and modern art, from the 15C to the first half of the 20C. Note the works by Hieronymus Bosch, Brueghel the Younger, Rubens, James Enso..

  • 5 Gent Municipal Museum - STAM Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    Goldshuizenlaan 2

    The museum is housed in the former Bijloke Cistercian abbey, founded in the 14C. In the first room, there is a giant aerial photo on the ground and a model of the historical centre. Then, in this fine series of brick buildings dating from the 14C to ..

  • This museum, housed in the former Flower Show Hall, illustrates changes in art from the 1950s to the present day. Its director and curator is Jan Hoet, the "enfant terrible" of the contemporary arts world, who organised the Documenta IX Exh..

  • 7 Château des Comtes de Flandre Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts


    This castle was built by Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, in 1180. It was fully restored in the early 20C. Its architecture drew inspiration from Crusader forts in Syria. Inside the curtain wall, visitors can see the Romanesque gallery and fine r..

  • 8 Hôtel de ville Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts


    Work began on the Town Hall in 1518, was interrupted in 1535 and only resumed 60 years later, thus explaining its two different styles. The 16C Charter House is late Gothic, while the early-17C Alderman's House is Italian Renaissance-inspired. The so..

  • 9 Église St-Nicolas Interesting

    Religious buildings

    Émile Brauplein

    Work began in 1200 on this imposing Tournai-stone church dedicated to St Nicholas of Myre, patron of merchants and boatmen. It was remodelled several times until the 17C. Restoration work started in the second half of the 19C is still in progress, th..

  • 10 Patershol Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Patershol has small craftsmen's houses (the oldest are 12C), big town houses, two Medieval convents and a hospice. In the Middle Ages, it was a major district for craft and religion, then became fashionable in the 17C and 18C. It declined, then fell ..

  • 11 Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design Interesting

    Museums and art

    Jan Breydelstraat 5

    This museum displays the changes in decorative arts and design from the 16C to the present day. It occupies the old 18C Coninck Mansion, to which a new wing has been added for the modern collections. The 16C and 17C collections include fine furniture..

  • This museum set in an old cotton mill recalls the city's industrial past. Note the plants in the garden that were once used to dye the cloth. The changes brought about by three industrial revolutions are illustrated by various machines, objects, docu..

  • 13 Petit béguinage Interesting

    Religious buildings

    Lange Violettenstraat

    The quiet enclosed convent founded by Joanna of Constantinople in 1234 has remained unchanged since the 17C. The charming brick houses with small front gardens flank the church and two meadows.

  • 14 Friday Market Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    It was here that the sovereigns of Flanders would address the people and that weavers and wool workers fought each other in May 1345. A statue stands on the square in honour of a victim of this strife, Jacob Van Artevelde. There are fine buildings, s..

  • 15 House of Alijn Interesting

    Museums and art

    Kraanlei 65

    The museum is housed in the Alijn children's hospital (1363), Ghent's only almshouse, which is made up of cottages and a late-Gothic chapel. Note the inner courtyard lined with white houses and their tall dormer windows. The museum illustrates Flemis..

  • 16 Pont St-Michel

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    This bridge provides a stunning view of the old town's buildings and façades. Turn round to admire St Nicholas' towers, the belfry and St Bavo in a row. From the centre of the bridge, to the right, note St Michael's late-Gothic apse ajoining the old ..

  • 17 Maison de l'Arrière-Faucille

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    This magnificent Medieval residence called Back Sickle House forms a picturesque 16C complex, with turrets and an arcaded courtyard. It houses the Music Academy since 1900. Note a series of old façades in nearby Hoogpoortstraat.

  • 18 Marché aux Légumes

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Note the Great Butcher's Shop (1404), with its huge oak beams and crow-stepped dormer windows, to the left of the vegetable market. The wooden stalls leaning on the front were used for selling offal. The corner 't Galgenhuyseken was where the gallows..

  • 19 Margot l'Enragée

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    The huge 15C "Mad Meg" cannon was brought to Ghent to defend the town against Spanish invaders in 1578. Ironically, it turned out to be impossible to use.

  • 20 Quai de la Grue

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    This quay has fine old houses, especially the Kite House. Low-reliefs on the house next door depict the Seven Mercies.

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