Sunday, 15 December 2013

A gent in Ghent

Ghent is hardly a secret spot for tourists, but at the same time I can't help feel that it's a little overlooked in favour of its "Hollywood" neighbour Bruges.

Bruges was catapulted even further into the tourist spotlight by the film "In Bruges".

To redress the balance, today I'm sending a little bit of love Ghent's way.

Ghent and Bruges share quite a few things in common, including waterways, belfries and the fact that they go by multiple spellings (Ghent, Gent / Bruges, Brugge).

Ghent is a little bit larger, but its old town is a wonderful network of old buildings, waterways, squares and some pedestrianised streets.  

Easily explored on foot, you feel like you have a little more room to move in Ghent compared to Bruges, especially when the day-trippers have hit town.

View from the belfry
Ghent's Belfry
Dragon on top of the Belfry
The River Leie that winds its way through the city is the focal point for old town, with especially pretty rows of buildings on the Korenlei and Graslei.

Graslei along the River Lys

Another view of the Graslei

And another of the Graslei

On the opposite side, the Korenlei

Further along the river is Gravensteen Castle.  Originally built in 1180 it was used as a seat of the Counts of Flanders, and then a courthouse, prison and even factory.   It's crumbling remains were then heavily restored during the past 100 years.

Gravensteen Castle

View from the top of the castle
One of the more curious sites is the Great Butcher's Hall.   Also on the river, here large legs of ham hang from wooden ceiling trusses.

Great Butcher's Hall in the early morning mist
Hams hanging from the roof of the Great Butcher's Hall

Riverside room

Ghent homes

Veerleplein - where a street lamp lights up when a baby is born at a Ghent maternity ward
Bridge over the River Leie 
St Michael's Church - is that the parish boat?

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