After we have parked the car in the garage reserved for us, we start our first city walk through the center of Ghent.
We are in front of the Sint Michielskerk (Saint Michael’s Church), built in the 15th century. The construction work was interrupted during the Huguenot Wars. The tower was not completed later due to a lack of money.
Inside there are paintings by Anthonis van Dyck, Gaspar de Crayer, and other famous painters. As festivities take place, we do not want to disturb anymore.
Now the Sint Michielsbrug (St Michael’s Bridge) lies in front of us. We now get the first idea of why Ghent is also called the Manhattan of the Middle Ages.
Behind the bridge rise the towers of the Sint-Niklaaskerk, the Belfry, and the St. Bavo Cathedral.
To the left, along the Leie, is the Hotel 1898 The Post and next to it the Gildenhuis van de Vrije Schippers.
The free skippers acquired the building in 1530, before which it was the guild house of the millers’ guild. Today it serves to represent the port of Ghent.
In the past, the shore of the Leie served here as an inland port. Today both the right bank Graslei and the opposite bank Korenlei with their listed houses and a multitude of café terraces are a popular meeting place for locals and tourists.
To the south, we discover a graffiti on the wall of a house, depicting the famous Ghent Altarpiece in St. Bavo’s Cathedral.
Passing the Hotel 1898 The Post we reach the Korenmarkt, the main square of Ghent.
We take a look around and try to let the architecture of the individual buildings affect us. Next to the Sint-Niklaaskerk, we discover the Stadshal, the City Pavilion. Due to its unorthodox shape, we want to take a closer look at the hall later.
While we walk in the northern direction, a bus passes by, and we notice that it is a free electric bus for locals and tourists here in Ghent. The turquoise buses are easy to recognize.
The bus stops along its route are in quite short intervals. The buses only stop when you wave, or someone wants to get off.
We reach the Groentenmarkt square, where you can buy delicious specialties like the mustard, or piccalilli from the artisan company Tierenteyn-Verlent. An organic market takes place here every Friday.
Opposite at the Groot Vleeshuis, the Great Butchers’ Hall, we discover a small café ‘t Galgenhuisje. It is the smallest pub in Ghent.
The terrace is larger than the interior spaces. Formerly it was the tripe house, where the poorer could buy entrails. At that time, one sold the meat separated from the entrails, for hygienic reasons.
But the name dates from the time when one executed the convicts here in the rear of the building.
We take the opportunity to warm ourselves up with a Flemish Coffee, as the weather still does not meet our spring expectations.
A Flemish Coffee is similar to the Irish Coffee, but instead of Whiskey, one adds Genever.
The Great Butchers’ Hall houses a restaurant, where you can enjoy more than 100 traditional products from East Flanders.
We cross the Leie and stand in front of Gravensteen, the Castle of the Counts.
Once owned by the Counts of Flanders, it is one of the largest moated castles in Europe. You can find out more about our visit in the next post.
Opposite the castle gate, there is a small square. In the corner of the square, there is a gate above which there are massive stone reliefs and sculptures.
It is the entrance to the ballroom of the city Gent and the tourist information.
We return to the Sint Michielsbrug and the Stadshal on the other side of the Leie. The open pavilion made of concrete, wood, and glass, designed by the architects Robbrecht & Daem/Marie-José Van Hee, offers space for concerts or markets.
When it rains, the musicians find shelter under the roof. Also, the coachmen allow themselves and their horses sometimes a break in the dryness with rain.
Next to it is the town hall of Gent, the Stadhuis. The Renaissance entrance leads to the entrance hall, where you see paintings of old masters.
The second part of the town hall, also located at the Hoogpoort, impresses by its decorated late Gothic facade. Visiting the town hall is only possible with a guided tour.
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Soundtracks in video:
- Again, Once Again by fluffy (c) copyright 2016
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
- Kalte Ohren ( Remix ) by Dysfunction_AL (c) copyright 2019
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/destinazione_altrove/59536 Ft: Starfrosch, Kara Square
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