Saint-Elisabeth Béguinage

In 1242, Jeanne, Countess of Flanders, founded the béguinage in ‘het Broek’, a swampy area outside the first town walls near the ‘Prinsenhof’ (prince’s court).
After, the béguinage was a small walled town inside the city of Ghent with a grand entrance and with the church as its central point.

Sophie Van Akenstraat, Gravin Johannastraat, Provenierstersstraat, Edmond Boonenstraat, Begijnhofdries, Zwartekatstraat
Cloth hall

In the Middle Ages, Ghent was one of the most important places for the trade of wool and cloth. All cloth made within a mile around the town had to be brought to the cloth hall. Here, the cloths were valued and inspected by three hallenheren (inspectors) and eventually sold to the merchants.

Botermarkt 17 - 9000 Gent

From the 11th century, there has been a lot of harbour activity at the Lys River “between the bridges”. Back then, this site was mainly known for the import of grain from the County of Artois (Northern France). Ghent was the staple town so all import of grain to the County of Flanders had to pass through the harbour. Merchants were obliged to bring a specified amount of their grain to the grain depot. Only after the grain had been there for two weeks, the owner was allowed to sell it at the Ghent market. Many buildings are a reminder of these activities and represent the flourishing of the Ghent trade.
During the 18th and 19th century, most buildings were renovated. Many of them lost their original character. With a view to the 1913 World Exhibition, the historical buildings were thoroughly renovated but not always with the needed attention to their authenticity.
In 2003, the City of Ghent received a big price for the restoration of the Graslei and Korenlei. Their project was carried out within the framework of a programme for the promotion of the revaluation of the Ghent canals, for the development of the mobility plan ‘City Centre of Ghent’ and for the reconstruction of the ‘Kuip van Gent’. 


In 1738, the aldermen in Ghent ordered the construction of a post for the imperial troops of Empress Maria Theresa. The ‘Corps de Garde’ was designed by the important master builder David ‘t Kindt. This building is one of the most precious examples of the rococo-architecture in Ghent. Characteristic of this architectural style is the strongly emphasized middle party with a jutting part that is being crowned by a domed mansard roof. The fronton is decorated with a women’s figure next to a cannon and some cannon balls, which refer to the former military function of the building.

Kouter 29 - 9000 Gent
Saint-Nicholas' Church

A Romanesque church had already been built on this site in the late 11th or early 12th century. It was replaced in the early 13th century by a new church in Scheldt-Gothic style. First, the first four bays of the tripodal nave were built. A few decades later, the entire nave, the transept, and the service tower were completed. In the 14th and 15th centuries, building work continued and the first alterations were made. The chancel was lengthened by two bays and expanded with a choir aisle and radiating chapels. In the 16th century, the church suffered severely at the hands of the iconoclasts.

Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral

The earliest records of the oldest parish church in Ghent date back to the 10th century. In 942, a chapel was built near the busy mooring place at the Lower Scheldt. The church was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and was rebuilt and enlarged in the 11th century.

Sint-Baafsplein 4 - 9000 Gent

The Toreken, formerly the tanners’ guildhall, was built in Gothic style between 1450 and 1483. It has a stepped gable in the Kammerstraat and a staircase tower as a distinguishing feature.
The ground floor, which was used for storing, working and trading, is rather austere. Most remarkable is the guild hall ceiling at the first floor, with tie-beams resting on carved corbels. The second floor and the attic are also very impressive.

Vrijdagmarkt 33 - 9000 Gent
Hotel de Coninck

The “Museum of Decorative Arts and Design” has been accommodated in this impressive hotel since 1920. The building is thought to have been built in 1755 and was bought by Ferdinand de Coninck six years later. He was a rich linen merchant who had close trade relations with Holland, Spain and overseas areas. The building was situated in the immediate vicinity of the discharging quays at the Korenlei and Houtlei, which made it the perfect location for doing business. 

Jan Breydelstraat 5 - 9000 Gent
Vlaamse opera

City architect Louis Roelandt built the Grand Théâtre, the present Vlaamse Opera (Flemish Opera), between 1837 and 1840 on the site where the Sint-Sebastiaansgilde (guild) used to have its theatre. The Grand Théâtre was the Ghent bourgeoisie’s favourite meeting place in the 19th century. 

Schouwburgstraat 3 - 9000 Gent

The ‘Koninklijke Nederlandse Schouwburg’ (Royal Dutch Theatre)was built at the end of the 19th century after a design by architect Edmond De Vigne. The big tympanum, decorated with a colourful mosaic, is the most outstanding feature of the façade.

The allegorical tableau depicts Apollo and the Muses. In the alcoves, statues depict the most important Ghent chambers of rhetoric of the 19th century. The architectural style of the theatre’s interior is neo-Renaissance and eclecticism.

Sint-Baafsplein 17 - 9000 Gent