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Medieval Meandering in Ghent, Belgium

 Canals and the Leie River wind through Ghent. A great way to see the city is from one of the boat tours available.

 

The best way to see Ghent, Belgium is on foot and so there I was; following Mark, a local tour guide hired by AmaWaterways to guide a group of cruise passengers through the streets of this beautiful medieval city.

 

Churches help make up Ghent's skyline

 

It’s obvious from the start of the tour that this was a powerful center of business and trade with its beautiful gothic public buildings, towering churches, and well-kept homes and businesses. One of Belgium’s oldest cities, Ghent dates back to the 7th century.

 

Ornate designs decorate homes and businesses.

 

It was in the Middle Ages that Ghent became one of Europe’s wealthiest towns with the cloth industry. By the 13th century the city had become a major wool-producing center. But, with prosperity came conflict between economic and state powers including the Hundred Years’ War and rebellions against the Duke of Burgundy. The city witnessed a revival in the 1800s when a port was opened and machinery was added to the factories.

 

Canals wind through the city mirroring canal houses and centuries-old commercial buildings.

 

Today, connected with the North Sea by the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, Ghent is a major port and the chief textile and banking center of Belgium. Ghent is also a popular tourist destination—from its medieval architecture to the boat rides offered on the Leie River. It’s a feast for the eyes and a breath of fresh air for the soul.

 

The towering Gravensteen castle was built in 1180.

The skyline includes the Gravensteen castle built in 1180, Saint Bavo Cathedral consecrated in 942 and continuously added to until its completion in 1569, Saint-Jacob's church built in the 15th century, Saint-Nicolas’ Church built in the 13th century, Saint Michael’s Church from the 12th century and many other beautiful churches. Each with their own unique beauty.

 

Canals and the Leie River wind through Ghent. A great way to see the city is from one of the boat tours available.

Canals and the Leie River wind through Ghent. A great way to see the city is from one of the boat tours available.

  

Flemish painting flourished in Ghent in the 15th century.  Hugo van der Goes worked here most of his life, and the world-famous masterpiece of the Van Eyck brothers, The Adoration of the Lamb, is in the Cathedral of St. Bavo. The cathedral also contains a noted Rubens painting.

 

Neptune towers over the fish market building.

 

Everywhere interesting architectural detail can be seen whether it’s on the local fish market or modest homes. The city has a charm and a pace that are perfect for meandering through the narrow streets, along the river and past ornate buildings.

 

Churches help make up Ghent's skyline

 

If you go:  

  • To learn about Ghent’s many historic attractions and other practical information: www.inyourpocket.com/Belgium/Ghent.
  • AmaWaterways features river cruises in Europe, Africa and Asia.  Complimentary small group excursions are offered daily with knowledgeable guides and state-of-the art headsets. For more information: www.amawaterways.com

A few more images of beautiful Ghent follow: 

 

Architectural detail is on nearly every external surface.

Ornate designs decorate homes and businesses.

Architectural detail is on nearly every external surface.

 

Gothic and medieval office and public buildings line the streets.

Gothic and medieval office and public buildings line the streets.

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Images (14)
  • Ornate designs decorate homes and businesses.
  • Architectural detail is on nearly every external surface.
  • Ornate designs decorate homes and businesses.
  • Churches help make up Ghent's skyline
  • The towering Gravensteen castle was built in 1180.
  • Neptune towers over the fish market building.
  • Churches help make up Ghent's skyline
  • Architectural detail is on nearly every external surface.
  • Canals wind through the city mirroring canal houses and centuries-old commercial buildings.
  • Canals and the Leie River wind through Ghent. A great way to see the city is from one of the boat tours available.
  • Canals and the Leie River wind through Ghent. A great way to see the city is from one of the boat tours available.
  • Canals and the Leie River wind through Ghent. A great way to see the city is from one of the boat tours available.
  • Gothic and medieval office and public buildings line the streets.
  • Gothic and medieval office and public buildings line the streets.

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