Walk around Ghent
One day of our trip, we went by train to Ghent – a pretty Flemish city that attracts with its architecture and canals. We invite you to walk with us – it will be interesting.
We arrived in Ghent at about 3 pm on a hot May day. We drove from Antwerp by train. The journey took about 1 hour, and the ticket cost 9.9 euros per person. We reached the railway station Gent Sint Pieters. The first thing that caught our attention after leaving the station in Ghent was the parking lot with thousands of parked bicycles. Belgians love to ride bicycles – perhaps this is due to high fares on public transport or the general desire for a healthy lifestyle.
By the way, Ghent boasts the largest network of bicycle paths in Europe – about 400 km of bicycle paths to a city with a population of 259 thousand people!
We pass on the bridge through the channel. By the number of channels, Ghent can compete with the famous Bruges. It is very popular walks along the canals on a boat and even have the opportunity to rent a boat for independent travel along the waterways of the city. At the same time for the rental does not need any license, only a passport and money – 55 euros for 2 hours.
Go ahead, and on the left hand shows the Castle of Gerard the Devil. The castle was built in the 13th century, and during its existence, managed to visit the armory, monastery, prison, school and even a psychiatric hospital. The origin of the name of this castle is shrouded in many legends. According to one of them, the castle owner Gerard was married five times, and each time he killed his previous wife to marry the next. Something like the legend of the Bluebeard, right?
On the street mercilessly bakes the sun, and we move around the shadows. We are trying to find at least one supermarket to buy soft drinks, but so far to no avail. On the street Limburgstraat, on which we go, there are mainly bookstores and small shops with clothes. A tower of the majestic Cathedral of Saint Bavo appears on the horizon.
The Cathedral of Saint Bavo in the Gothic style is made of brick and granite. Its construction was completed in 1569. The interior of the cathedral is decorated with unique paintings – The Appeal of St. Bavon by Rubens, the Ghent Altar by Van Eyck. The latter is considered a masterpiece of Flemish painting. Under the cathedral is the crypt, where the bishops are buried, as well as the treasury. Entrance to the cathedral is free, so take a look at it and admire the three-meter high Gents altar.
We go behind the Cathedral of Saint Bavo and immediately notice Belfry’s bell tower with a height of 91 meters. Belfry bell tower is one of the three medieval towers overlooking the Old Town. This is the tallest belfry in Belgium, which is under the protection of UNESCO and is a symbol of urban independence. Construction of the tower was begun in 1300 and completed in 1338. The building adjoining the bell tower had previously served as a meeting point for wool and fabric merchants, and now there is a cafe. On the roof of the cathedral you can see the mascot of the city – a gilded dragon. The Fire Dragon is a proud symbol, mascot and patron of Ghent, who guards the historic heart of the city.
Want to admire the panoramas of the city? Then climb the bell tower. Opening hours: from 10:00 to 18:00, entrance fee: 8 euros.
In the narrow street, a nice low-floor tram, HermeLijn, produced by Siemens and Bombardier, passes by.
Ghent is a student city, so young people are found here and there. Ghent University is one of the largest universities in Belgium, which has about 40,000 students – about 25% of the population of Ghent.
Passing by a large tram junction, we see the amazing town hall building of Ghent. This building is unique in its combination of Gothic style on the one hand and Renaissance style on the other. Parts of the town hall reminded us of Bruges Town Hall.
The best view of the Gothic architecture of the city opens from the stone arched bridge of St. Michael. This bridge was built in the period from 1905 to 1909 according to the design of the architect Luis Cloquet. The bridge is part of Sint-Michielshelling Street. From the bridge there is a view of the embankment of the river Lie of Graslei and the Korenlei embankment opposite to it, and on the other side of the mighty castle of the counts of Flanders Gravensten. In the photo we see those sights of Ghent, which have already passed on foot – the Cathedral of Saint Bavo, the town hall.