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a Private Tour.
Ghent, the capital of the province of East Flanders, is an excellent destination for lovers of history, architecture (medieval, modern and contemporary) and… Belgian delicacies. However, the fantastic atmosphere and the city center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are not the only reasons why crowds of tourists from all over the world flock here. Ghent was the scene of many interesting and often frightening events throughout its long history… Let’s dive into them together!
Ghent’s horror stories are connected, among other things, to the Graslei waterfront – it is here, on the banks of the River Lys and in close proximity to the Park Appelbrugparkje, there is the famous Hoofdbrug bridge, also known as the ‘execution bridge’. Today it is a popular tourist destination, but back in dark medieval times murderers and rapists were brought to this stone bridge to be punished by beheading. On the bridge there used to be also two monuments commemorating the macabre experiment of the Count of Flanders. The cruel man decided to execute the related rebels (father and son) in an unusual way – the one who would dare to cut off the head of the other would be spared. Father and son agreed that the younger of the two should survive, but when the son proceeded to carry out the execution, the sword shattered into tiny pieces… So much legend but in addition to the bridge, public executions in Ghent were also carried out on the Vrijdagmarkt. On such occasions crowds of onlookers eager for this macabre entertainment would gather. The instruments used during torture and execution can be seen today in Gravensteen Castle, otherwise known as the “Castle of the Counts”. The hero of many legends connected with Ghent is King Charles V. The Spanish ruler humiliated the rebellious citizens of Ghent: some of the rebels were executed, while the others were led through the streets of the city with nooses hung around their necks. Those events are still remembered in the city – near the St Anthony Bridge there is a statue of De Stroppendrager, depicting a rebel with a noose hung around his neck.
If you want to discover lesser-known, often dark secrets of Ghent join us for a guided night walk. We have many such tales in store for you! Together we shall visit places where great rulers were revolted against, people were tortured and executed. Join us to feel the thrill and see the city at night, when it empties, becomes very atmospheric and… spooky!
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