Ghent, Belgium: description, history of the city, sights and interesting facts
Tourists often drive past this provincial city in Belgium, but in vain, because it is considered to be a treasure trove of many sights. Belgium and charming Ghent, surrounded by flower fields, are ideal for family holidays.
A city with a rich history
The administrative center of East Flanders will tell you how modern Belgians live. For the first acquaintance with him, guides are not needed at all: just walk along the narrow streets and look at the architectural structures that remember the events of a thousand years ago that took place in Ghent.
The history of the city, the date of occurrence of which is not exactly established, began approximately in the VII century. Although some researchers believe that even in the days of the Roman Empire there was a small settlement, which became a major settlement.
Curiously, until the 16th century, Ghent was second only to the capital of France. At this time, the peak of the economic development of the city, the artisans of which produced high-quality cloth and wool. And the construction of canals only served to further its growth.
In the 16th century, a revolt began against the king and the regime, which was brutally suppressed. All participants marched in a shame with loops around their necks, for which the name "hanged men" stuck to the residents for a long time. There are several monuments that perpetuate this event of past centuries.
The ancient Ghent, in which about 230 thousand people live, forms the Big Ghent agglomeration with suburbs. Surprisingly, one of the outskirts is called Moscow (Moscou), and it was here that the Russian troops stopped in 1813.
Gent in Belgium, which is described in the article, will surprise even experienced travelers. Modern buildings are skillfully inscribed in the medieval style prevailing in the city. By the way, there is almost no wooden buildings here: after terrible fires, the authorities forbade them to build them.
A distinctive feature of the locals is their love for plants, and in the labyrinth of small streets on every corner there are well-groomed colorful flowerbeds.And during city festivals, flower festivals take place that fill Ghent with wonderful aromas.
Standing at the site of the confluence of two rivers (Lys and Shelda), the city received the name "Belgian Venice". Its territory is dominated by a temperate maritime climate with cool summers with frequent rains and warm winters.
On the main square, located in the heart of a nice corner, are concentrated the medieval sights of Ghent (Belgium), devoid of fuss and idle wandering around tourists. Its historic center, closed to motor transport, is built up rather compactly, and during an exciting walk you can get acquainted with architectural treasures. It is said that such a number of cultural sites located on one square kilometer of the pedestrian zone cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Here is the oldest building in the country, which for many centuries has been rebuilt several times, while retaining the original appearance. The stone castle of Gravensten, which belonged to the Flanders counts, served both as an outpost and as an abode for an aristocratic family.In the form of buildings, similar to a real defensive fortress, there is not a drop of elegance, since the construction was important to show the strength and power of its owners. The monument of medieval architecture with 24 turrets, suggestive of gloomy thoughts, is famous for its basement-pool with drinking water for the castle residents who are under siege. And from the walls of the majestic citadel stunning views of a small but very beautiful city.
Fifteen years ago, a museum was opened in the building of the Gravensten Castle, the exposition of which tells about medieval weapons and torture that took place in a mansion tower, which served as a prison for prisoners. This impressionable nature entry is ordered.
Belfort Tower Belfry
The Belfort bell tower, which stands above pretty houses with a tiled roof, is recognized as a visiting card of Ghent in Belgium. The main pride of the high belfry, which appeared in the XIV century, is the “Roland” bell, which informed the district about sad or joyful events. Once there was a state treasury here, and today, having risen to the observation deck on the elevator, you can see the charming city from a bird's eye view.
Gerard the Devil's Castle
Over the small channel hangs another lock, by which no one passes. The appearance of a gothic structure that has undergone many changes differs significantly from the original. In the XIII century, it was an architectural ensemble with powerful fortress walls and high towers. The castle of Gerard the Devil, whose owner received the nickname for his bad temper and dark skin, was bought by a wealthy citizen, and from the beginning of the last century to this day there is the state archive. For tourists, only a reading room is available.
From the XIII century on the lands of Ghent in Belgium began to appear communities of beggars - wealthy women who lost their husbands, and girls of minor origin, who devoted themselves to serving God, not taking monasticism. They were engaged in public works, worked in the workshops for sewing clothes and lived in the Beguinage, which is a house-hostel.
Now you can see the beguine of St. Elizabeth, turned into a real mini-city with 18 monasteries, a hospital and residential buildings. It is curious that several churches were built on its territory: Protestant, Catholic and Christian.
Small Beginage, which is under the protection of UNESCO, was rebuilt in the XIX century by its owner. The non-profit organization seeks to preserve the special atmosphere of the complex, which consists of a church, business premises and residential buildings.
Great beguinage, also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, was founded much later - in the XIX century. He acted until 2003 - until the last novice died.
Streets and embankments
Some tourists are sure that the main attraction of the city is its streets, where you can wander for hours, each time meeting something new. Here you are lost in time, falling into the real Middle Ages. To understand the location of the intricate lanes, it will take several days.
Bezekapelstraat is a winding street paved with cobblestones, along which all tourists must walk. The fact is that it is very fond of the Belgian filmmakers who shoot historical tapes. This is a real time machine, in the blink of an eye carrying over several epochs back.
Other campers consider the main property of the extraordinary Ghent in Belgium to be his canals, which they enjoy boating. During the one-hour excursion, guests enjoy the views while listening to the guide's stories about the rich history of the city.
Embankment Grasley recognized as the most beautiful place. In the Middle Ages, it served as a port, and now they come here to sit in cozy cafes and watch how the water runs lazily.
Gastronomic capital of the country
Amazing Ghent in Belgium, whose sights have made its appearance unique, claims to be the gastronomic capital of the country. His cuisine, surprising with inexpensive delicacies, is very similar to French. And fans of beer, admired by the amazing taste of the local intoxicating drink, drink it from a special narrow flask on a wooden stand, invented by one of the innkeepers during Napoleon's time. From a special glass, even when walking or running, not a drop is spilled.
What do the tourists say
Tourists celebrate the special atmosphere of comfort and peace inherent in this place. A quiet place does not enjoy such crazy popularity as other cities of Belgium. Ghent is a quiet place, devoid of fuss, which prevails on the streets of Bruges or Brussels, so the vacationers, tired of noise and crowds, feel very comfortable here. Despite the fact that the city is not an important tourist center, there are a lot of interesting places that you just need to get acquainted with.
If at first the guests of Ghent feel that this is a rather gray place, devoid of any attractions, then over time they fall in love with it, marveling at its beauty and admiring the abundance of places of interest. What are the only numerous channels that make the appearance of the city incredibly attractive to tourists.
In addition, architectural monuments are located close to each other, as well as all important infrastructure, which is very convenient for tourists.
In the romantic Belgian Ghent, where life flows slowly, you should not strive to embrace the immense and get acquainted with all its charms in a few days. Here you have to enjoy peace and tranquility, slowly walking through the narrow streets, see the city coming to life in the dawn rays of the sun and admire the sunset, when lights flash in the houses, reflected in the dark water of the canals. The indescribable feeling of being in a real fairy tale remains forever.