Many impressive guildhalls built from the 12th to the 20th centuries flank the splendid quaysides of Ghent's oldest harbour. These buildings have diverse yet typical gabled roofs, in many cases representing contrasting architectural styles, but together presenting a harmonious view of the city's historic quarter.
The cathedral of Sint-Baafskathedraal - Gent, is solely dedicated to a Belgian Orthodox saint, Saint Bavo of Ghent. The cathedral is one of the oldest standing religious structures in the city, and a member in the Diocese. Noted attractions at the cathedral include the 95 meter (311 feet) tall tower (accessible only during the festival), the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" painting and its massive altarpiece. The cathedral is a major tourist destination during the month of July, and that's when a large number of devotees head here for the Ghent Festivities.
Museum of Fine Arts, located near the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, houses some of the finest paintings from the 15th Century. Primarily showcasing paintings from the 15th to 20th Century, Museum voor Schone Kunsten as it is locally known, has nurtured the greatest of art works by the masters. Apart from time tested paintings, Museum of Fine Arts also exhibits paintings by established artists of the current times.
The Belfry of Ghent towers proudly over the historic city, standing as a monumental landmark that signifies autonomy and freedom. Soaring at a height of 91 meters (298.5 feet), this tower is among the city's tallest, along with the Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church. The belfry took all of 67 years to reach completion and has stood testament to the changes that occurred to the city from 1313 and in the years that followed. While it was architect Jan van Haelst who designed the tower, the tower's most striking feature – the neo-gothic spire – was added much later in 1851. The top of the tower also features a beautifully intricate gilded dragon that was bought over from Bruges. Owing to its magnificence and its administrative contribution to the city of Ghent during one time, the belfry was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1999.
Spanning the historic quarter of the city, Korenmarkt is a stunning square which features a bevy of striking landmarks and architectural marvels. Its environs are replete with a slew of warm and welcoming establishments, its surroundings thronged by scores of locals and tourists looking to unwind and admire the historic structures which abound here.
Connecting the historical quays of Graslei and Korenlai, St Michael’s Bridge or Sint-Michielsbrug as it is known, is a striking stone bridge imbued with rustic nuances. One of the major tourist attractions of the city, the elaborate arch bridge offers vantage points from where visitors can admire stunning views of landmarks such as Sint Niklaaskerk, Belfried and Sint Baafs.
This opulent opera house probably dates back to the 19th Century. But then no one seems to care about its origin since it has been a magnificent landmark for centuries now. Vlaamse Opera Gent oozes of opulence from every angle. Its carved stone edifice will welcome you into its luxurious interiors. Be it the salons or the horseshoe-framed theater and chandeliers, every space is worth a look. It is now the home of the Vlaamse Opera (Flemish Opera) and a prominent spot for opera lovers.
The main work of the Flemish School was created in oil on oak panels by the van Eyck brothers. They completed the winged altarpiece for the St. Bavo Cathedral in 1432 on behalf of the Ghent merchant Joos Vijd. The subject of the altar is the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb and visions of the Last Judgement from the Apocalypse. Yet its magnificent interiors used only to be opened on Christian holy days.