One of Ghent’s most picturesque streets which overlooks the River Leie on the site of the city’s mediaeval harbour. It is lined with perfectly preserved guildhouses, some dating from the 12th century, including the Guildhouse of the Free Boatmen at no 14 which is decorated with nautical scenes, and the Corn Measurers’ House next door whose façade is decorated with cartouches and garlands of fruit. The Toll House at no 11 is the smallest house in the city and a fine example of Flemish Renaissance architecture.
Developed in the 17th century to house the city’s weavers and refurbished in the 1980’s, this pretty area with quaint lanes and low brick houses, is now one of the city’s trendiest areas with upmarket cafes, restaurants and shops.
Once the political centre of Ghent, this pretty square was used for public meetings and executions. On one side stands the Dulle Griet, a fifteenth century cannon, supposedly the most powerful siege gun ever built, but whose barrel cracked the first time it was fired and whose 340g cannonball only flew a metre. Nowadays there is a good selection of bars, pavement cafes and market stalls.
Once the site of the huge castle known as Prinsenhof, dating back to the 13th century, this was also the birthplace of Emperor Charles V in 1500. His statue stands in the peaceful square, near the only part of the castle still standing, the Donkere Poort. Ultra modern houses are now mixed in with the old workers’ cottages, whilst a model shows how the castle used to look.
Korenmarkt & St Niklaaskerk
Once the site of the corn market and the commercial centre of the city since the Middle Ages, this area is now a popular area for cafes. At one end stands St Niklaaskerk, built as the sailors’ church in early 13th century and considered the most beautiful of Ghent’s 59 churches.