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April 9, 2004
The original plans were credited to master builders Dominicus de Waghemakere and Rombout Keldermans. The main facade is on the east side, although this item could be debatable. The earliest section on the northeast corner was designed in a Late Gothic style. This is the Huis van de Schepenen van de Keure (Charter House). Construction began in 1518 but sputtered to a halt in 1535. This portion features a small balcony, a chapel, and various statues. The section to its left, called the Huis van de Schepenen van Ghedeele, is in an Italian Renaissance style and was built from 1595 to 1618. This house, named after the arbitrating aldermen of the city, contains the main entrance to the edifice. This portion of the facade features a blend of black trim and half-columns capped by golden capitals.
The south elevation was completed about 1750 and has some Flemish Baroque tendencies. One could mistake this as the main facade, as it has the most prominent location towards the open plaza space and the three towers. All of these pieces are slammed together into one large Stadhuis, an interesting but far from cohesive aesthetic whole. Perhaps it is best to concentrate on each styled element individually to appreciate them.
Guided tours allow visitors access into the Stadhuis to see some of the elaborately titled interior spaces such as the Council Chamber, The Arsenal Hall, the Court of Justice of the Pacification Hall, the Throne Room, the Assembly Hall, and the Gothic staircases and chapels.
From journal Bill in Belgium - GHENT
Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
September 27, 2003
From journal Ghent, Gent or Gand - Great and Gracious