Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ghent, capital city of East Flanders, Belgium

There's only one word to describe Ghent and that is gorgeous. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it. Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university

Graslei and Korenlei

As a tourist destination, the city of Ghent has long been overshadowed by its neighbour, Bruges. In our opinion Ghent is just attractive to visit if not more. In fact, the best option is to visit both and decide for yourself. This can easily be done over a long weekend as neither city is too big to enjoy in a relatively short period of time. The main sites in Ghent include; the Design Museum, Graslei and St-Baafskathedraal.

The Design Museum is housed in an 18th century mansion and covers art and design from the 1600s through to the present. Graslei is one of Ghent's most beautiful streets, overlooking the River Leie on the site of the city's medieval harbour. It is lined with perfectly preserved guildhouses, some of which date back as far as the 12th century. This is a wonderful spot to enjoy a drink on a sunny day. St-Baafskathedraal dates from the 12th century. Built in several phases, it represents every phase of Gothic style. The main attraction here is van Eyck's polyptych Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, which you'll find in a side chapel.

Het Gravensteen

Once the seat of the counts of Flanders, Het Gravensteen or the Castle of the Counts, recalls the violent context of Ghent's medieval past. Until the 14th century the castle was Ghent's main military stronghold. These days it hosts an exhibition of medieval torture instruments. 

Visi to Ghent with Susy's Mum, April 2011
Ghent is a wonderful destination for a short relaxed break, plenty to do and see, you can wander round the city without needing to use public transport. If luck is with you and the sun shines, be sure and hop on one of the canal trips, its a great way to see the city. The guides normally speak at least four languages of which one is obviously English. The photos below should give you an idea of what lies ahead.

Our top tip if you plan to visit Ghent is the Marriott hotelKorenlai 109000 Ghent. Why? Two reasons, it has it's own underground carpark and when you walk out the back entrance you are right in the middle of the old town.  The view that greets you is beautiful, it doesn't get much better than this. If you enjoyed seeing some of Ghent, take a look at Bruges by clicking the following link: visit Bruges