Ghent seems marvellously frozen in time with its mediaeval architecture almost completely intact and unbelievably picturesquely settled along canals and riverfront of Leie. It feels small and cosy but at the same time vibrant and quirky, having so much to offer in terms of sightseeing, museums, food and activities which all creates a perfect combination for a couple of days visit!
The area where Ghent is located was inhabited since the Stone Age, but the city, which was settled between two early medieval abbeys, grew in strength and importance particularly from the 11th century onwards. This was the time when Ghent was developing into one of the biggest European metropolises – often called Manhattan of the Middle Ages – successfully battling with Paris for the palm of supremacy among cities in the north. Its citizens were becoming ever richer thanks to the highly developed wool trade. Having a proud and independent nature, the people of Ghent have repeatedly rebelled against authority and fought for their freedoms. They and their city were punished severely for that too, so during its history Ghent saw devastation and bloodshed a number of times.
The textile business that shaped Ghent in the Middle Ages had its second boom centuries later, at the turn of the 18th and 19th century, with the new inventions that simplified and fastened the process of textile manufacturing. Textile trade meant so much back in the day that even a magnificent 12th century Ghent castle, the Gravensteen, was converted into a cotton mill!
A visit to Ghent will be a treat not only for history buffs but also architecture lovers. Besides the beautifully preserved medieval centre, listed on the UNESCO Heritage List, there are excellent examples of modernist and contemporary architecture too. What is more, the people of Ghent have mastered the impossible – it is not a city-museum but a truly living place where the comforts of life are mixed with the respect for the monuments of history. Speaking about the comforts and joys of life, while visiting Ghent one cannot miss three excellent Belgian delights – pralines, waffles, and beer (not necessarily in this order!). Combine it with great museums where you find masterpieces of Flemish painters like Bosch or Rubens, contemporary works of Warhol, Horta and Le Corbusier as well as amazing parks and green zones, and it becomes clear why you simply have to come here! And while you are here, join our tour! It will be a perfect introduction to the city, to learn about its history, legends, and curiosities and a way to discover why some call Ghent “Europe’s best-kept secret”!
During our tour we will see and discover:
This tour is organized in cooperation with our local partner, Legends Tours!
Thank you for choosing Walkative & Legends Tours! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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