Ghent Journals

Bill in Belgium - GHENT

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A March 2004 trip to Ghent by billmoy

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Photo, Ghent, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Ghent is almost a forgotten town, as it is usually overshadowed by Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp. However, travelers will see that Ghent is a charming old university town that is not afraid of embracing modern trends. The city is spelled as Gent in Flemish and Gand in French.

Bill in Belgium - GHENT

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Overview

Ghent Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
A visit to the top of the Belfort is exhilarating, with jaw-dropping views of the town below. Part of the ascent is by stair, part by elevator. A different sort of exhilaration occurs when viewing the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" altarpiece at St. Bavo’s Cathedral. American travelers may wish to find the storefront where the Treaty of Ghent was signed. The peace treaty in 1814 technically ended the "War of 1812" between the United States and Great Britain. The Boekentoren (Book Tower) is the central library of the University of Ghent. The architect of this prominent modernist design was Henry van de Velde. Built from 1933 to 1940, the tower "campanile" of the library has 26 floors a...Read More

De Foyer Brasserie

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Restaurant

De Foyer Brasserie Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
This classy brasserie is on the second level of the Publiekstheater (Groot Huis), a building which was formerly the Royal Dutch Theater. Dating from the late 1800’s, this attractive facility was designed by Edmond De Vigne. The main dining room has a semi-formal quality to it befitting its location in the theater, and the piano adds to this impression. The most desirable seats are the ones by the windows, where you can enjoy views of charming Sint-Baafsplein, but as one might say there are no bad tables here. During the warmer months there is even seating outside on the terrace. There are also a few round tables located in the foyer (of course!) where overflow crowds can have a drink or a snack while ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

De Foyer Brasserie
Sint-baafsplein 17
Ghent, Belgium
+32 9 234 13 54

Ghent Food Specialties

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Restaurant | "Local food specialties in Ghent"

Ghent Food Specialties Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
Ghent has some interesting places to try and buy some local foods and treats. Here are a couple of the most prominent locations. Temmerman is the famous candy store, or should I say confectionery, that is located along the waterway at Kraanlei 79. It is located in a former inn nicknamed the “Seven Works of Mercy” because of the notable relief panels located on the facade above the storefront. The candies of Francine Temmerman have made this store an institution in Ghent. There is a treasure trove of giant lollipops, sugary candies, novelty sweets, funny looking cookies. There are candies with long names that are seemingly all inside jokes. For instance, some fluffy white and pink concoction has...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Ghent Food Specialties
Throughout Ghent
Ghent, Belgium

Saint Bavo Cathedral, Sint-Baafskathedraal

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Attraction | "“Adoration of the Mystic Lamb"

Saint Bavo Cathedral, Sint-Baafskathedraal Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
Construction on the upper church of Sint-Baafskathedraal began during the 14th Century. Built from 1462 to 1534 after a Gothic design by Jan Stassins, the bell tower on the west end (269 feet high) is also the entrance. The choir is High French Gothic while the nave has Late Brabant Gothic tendencies such as the ribbed vaulting. Renovations took place as needed after various disasters and attacks. The crypt is the largest one in Flanders. It contains some low vaults and other Romanesque elements of its predecessor, the Sint-Jean Church from about 1150 AD. The original outline is marked in a black outline on the floor. Observe some tombstones and fascinating old documents from the Middle Ages. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Saint Bavo Cathedral, Sint-Baafskathedraal
Sint-baafsplein (st. Bavo's Square)
Ghent, Belgium

Belfort of Ghent

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Attraction | "Belfort"

Belfort of Ghent Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
The Belfort has served as the central watch tower of old Ghent and is a powerful symbol of the independent spirit of the town. Reaching the height of 298 feet, it also was used to house vital documents like the local charters and statutes, and contains the carillon of the town. The Belfort (or belfry) was constructed from around 1300 to 1338 following a plan credited to master mason Jan van Haelst and has undergone various renovations over the years. The current stone spire of 1913 was designed by Valentijn Vaerwijck. It is topped with a gilded copper dragon, the third one to stand on this lofty perch over the years (its two predecessors are shells of their former selves but rest comfortably in ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Belfort of Ghent
Emile Braunplein
Ghent, Belgium

Saint Nicholas Church

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Attraction | "Sint-Niklaaskerk (St. Nicholas Church)"

Saint Nicholas Church Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
The tower of this church is one of the marvelous “three towers” in the heart of Ghent (the others being the Belfort and the tower of St. Bavo’s Cathedral). If you look east from the St. Michael’s Bridge you will observe all three towers in a stunning architectural procession. The tower was decorated with stone figures of watchmen, as it had served as a belfry until the construction of the Belfort. The church was dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myre (now in Turkey), the patron saint of merchants and sailors. The construction of the church began about 1200 and lasted for about two centuries, displaying an exemplary regional style called Scheldt Gothic (named after the nearby river) in one variation o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Saint Nicholas Church
Cataloniëstraat
Ghent, Belgium

Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts of Flanders) Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
This castle was built in 1180 by Philip of Alsace, who was the Count of Flanders. A visit here is historically interesting and has fun and macabre elements that kids and adults will enjoy. Much of the current appearance is due to reconstruction campaigns during the 20th Century. Only a few ruins remained before the rehabilitation, so the impression of a Crusaders stronghold in Syria is a bit of a romantic recreation and offers only the general idea of what the castle may have actually looked like. Besides its original purposes for military defense and for supporting lavish banquets and important assemblies, the castle was also used as a court of justice, mint, jail and cotton spinning mill. Th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts of Flanders)
Sint-veerleplein 11
Ghent, Belgium

Stadhuis

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Attraction

Stadhuis Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
The City Hall of Ghent is a curious structure, as the exterior elevations feature a peculiar combination of styles, each one reflecting the preferred tastes of that particular time. It is rather overshadowed by the surrounding “three towers” of St. Nicholas, the Belfort and St. Bavo. There were supposedly grand plans to build the largest town hall in Europe here, but that never materialized due mainly to shifting political fortunes and tastes. 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 sty...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Stadhuis
Botermarkt 1
Ghent, Belgium

Design Museum Gent

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Attraction

Design Museum Gent Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
This museum (previously called the Museum voor Sierkunst or Museum of Decorative Arts) is a surprisingly good time, and has artistic genres that should appeal to just about everyone. From the outside, the unsuspecting visitor will witness a sandstone mansion called the Hotel de Coninck. It was built in 1755 and has a cool Flemish Rococo style with large windows. The collections were initially displayed here in 1922. The museum was reopened in May 1992 with a new wing in the back designed by architect Willy Verstraete. The redesign restored much of the original building while incorporating new and tasteful additions that provide much needed exhibition space. The innocent veneer of the Hotel de Co...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Design Museum Gent
Jan Breydelstraat 5
Ghent, Belgium

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst

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Attraction | "SMAK"

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Photo, Ghent, Belgium
Quote:
The catchy letters proudly displayed above the main entrance stand for the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (Municipal Museum for Contemporary Art). It is the largest building in Citadelpark and holds perhaps the most interesting collection of modern art in Belgium. The building that houses the museum was renovated in 1999 by architect Koen Van Nieuwenhuyse, whose revamped design is understated and lets the artworks shine as the star of the show. The complex was the former Palais des Floralies, which was built for the 1913 World Exhibition and later served as a casino. It was amusing to approach the museum one day as a smattering of colorful ducks was waddling across the grass, which had dev...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst
Citadelpark
Ghent, Belgium