Ghent combines the old and the new. A perfect fit.
Water and towers
The Belfort, the Sint-Niklaaskerk and Sint-Baafs Cathedral are Ghent's most prominent features. The towers are silent but imposing witnesses to Ghent's rich history. Ghent grew at the merging point of the rivers Schelde and Leie.
The presence of water has been invaluable throughout the centuries for the economic development of the city. In prehistoric times and during the Roman Empire, the rivers formed a natural defense against possible enemies. Later in the Middle Ages, Ghent was able to benefit from the close proximity of the waterways, which allowed the city to grow to become one of themost important trade centers of the time.
In the Middle Ages Ghent was a metropolis - the biggest in the world after Paris. The economic importance was considerable and the expertise high. The Schelde and the Leie shipped goods to and fro. In particular, the production and export of luxury wool blankets was responsible for unprecedented growth from the 13th to the 15th century.
Thanks to visionary and dynamic administration, Ghent has evolved in the last 15 years from a rather sleepy provincial city to a bustling and lively spot where it is a pleasure to live, work and study. You can literally breathe in Ghent's rich history while strolling through the city center. The Gravensteen, the Oude Vismijn, the Duivelsteen, the Sint-Pietersabdij, the Graslei: these authentic monuments are just a stone's throw away from one another.
City of the 21st century
But the 21st century has also made its mark on Ghent. For every façade from the Middle Ages there is a modern equivalent, for every Flemish Primative - a Panamarenko or a Fabre. Old and new fit seamlessly together, ensuring a unique, timeless balance.