Gent Sights and Landmarks Guide, Belgium
Gent might be considered a nice blend of comfortable living and history, of medieval times and modern ones. The old part of the city was totally renovated and consists of notable old houses and buildings situated on quiet streets paved with cobblestones or in the background of the Leie River.
Medieval and modern Gent sights can be best admired during a leisurely walking tour of the city.
Gent Sights - Medieval Sights
Such beautiful old places are: “Gravensteen”, known as the Count’s Castle as it was built by the counts of Flanders in 1180. Once the castle served as a jail, a court and later a cotton mill and it was well preserved being still intact. Visitors can look at an entire collection of torture instruments reminding of the prison life, all of them being exhibited in a museum inside the castle.
Another old touristic attraction is “Dulle Griet” or Mad Maggy, a large cannon- gun from the 15th century, situated in the Friday market area. All kinds of guns and weapons are kept in the chamber of the gun. Saint Michael’s Bridge is located in the centre of the city from where everybody can admire a beautiful panoramic view of the three towers, of the Neo Gothic Post-office of Gent or of other medieval buildings along the river Leie.
Gent Sights - The Three Main Towers
Saint Nicholas Church was constructed in Scheldt Gothic style, built with blue-grey stone and considered nowadays one of the oldest churches in Gent. After being burned down, it was rebuilt between 1220 and 1250.
Belfry tower is a unique tower that reminds of the Middle Age cities of Belgium standing for a watch tower then. It is a UNESCO World heritage Site, a 295-foot tower. Up there the view of the city IS indeed breathtaking.
Saint Bavo’s Cathedral is one of the most amazing towers and a very appreciated one by both locals and visitors. Saint Bavo, was a noble who gave all his wealth to the poor and became a saint who spent the rest of his life at the monastery., hence its name and its spiritual value for the people of Gent.
It is considered the best Gent touristic attraction as it is the place where “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” is housed. It is Gent Alterpiece and an important work of art, being one of the first works painted in early Northern Renaissance style that referred to man and nature in a more naturalistic way when comparing it to the Classical style.
The painter’s name was Hubert van Eyck who started the work but it was finished by his brother Jan. “The Conversion of Saint Bavo” painted by Rubens is also placed in this Cathedral.
Gent Sights - Important Buildings and Monuments
Other wonderful and important buildings and monuments that should not be missed from the list of Ghent sights are: Patershol, the Town Hall, the Castle of Gerald the Devil, the Cloth Hall, the Fish Market or the Friday Market.
Gent Sights – Museums
You can never get bored during a full day or half day trip in Gent; both of them make visitors come again revealing the above mentioned historical Gent sights and other 19 museums of history, art and culture, attractive places that shelter traces of tradition and ancient times. Some of them are included in the cultural tours and excursions of the city:
the Museum of Folklore, of Contemporary Art, of Industrial Archeology and Textile, of the history of Medicine or the Museum of Fine Arts exhibiting many Flemish masters’ works, Sint Baafsabdij – a medieval abbey, in Romanesque style and a lapidary museum.
The city boat tours are also good choices that offer visitors excellent sightseeing along the way.
Gent Sights - Leisure Areas
Another touristic attraction mainly for hippies or rebels is a street right in the center called “the Graffiti Alley”, where everyone with graffiti skills are free to perform in their own way.
If you are a garden lover you should walk and see the Botanical garden M Thiery or the botanical garden of the University.
Gent is mainly visited for its fine medieval sights but it has modern style too illustrated in many new hotels, in the Holiday Inn Expo, in the famous Opera House, or in the museum Smak.
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