Rooftops, Spires, and Façades, The Architecture of Ghent, Belgium

architecture ghent belgium building facades
Facing the River Lys, the stunning architecture of Ghent, Belgium

As we strolled around Ghent all day today, I was struck by the joyous anarchy of its architecture. Yes, you could say there was a basic Flemish style to all the façades and rooflines and spires, but that style was merely a jumping off point for convention shattering imagination. One of the most interesting cities we've visited.

architecture ghent st bavo cathedral
Saint Bavo's Cathedral, home of the Ghent Altarpiece.

St. Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, is home to the spectacular Ghent Altarpiece. But it also has some very nice windows and a nice organ. I really love how the pipes are hung high on the wall in many medieval churches. It makes them part of the architecture and decoration, instead of a mere musical instrument, no?

architecture ghent bell tower belgium
The outside of Saint Bavo's, and the bell tower. Just as beautiful from the outside.

We spent a month driving around Belgium in the spring of 2014.

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I remember thinking as we were walking around Ghent that it was a “poor man's Bruges.” But that's selling it way short. It's beautiful in its own right, and it benefits from having significantly fewer tourists than Bruges. Which we always like.

And, there's the Ghent Altarpiece, made famous in the book and movie The Monuments Men (which I highly recommend, btw. The book, not the movie. The movie was ok, but if you really like history of art, get the book.)

You can read a lot more about Ghent and the other places we visited in Belgium by clicking the link.

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2 thoughts on “Rooftops, Spires, and Façades, The Architecture of Ghent, Belgium”

  1. Wow, great, great photo! I was in Ghent about 16 years ago but I barely remember it. Belgium is not a country I’ve thought much about going back to, probably since it’s so close to London where I grew up, but this architecture…just gorgeous!

    • Thanks, Sam. We didn’t think much about Belgium either until we ran into a rep of Visit Flanders and she showed us the promotion for the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. And since my father and Kris’s uncle were both in World War II in Belgium, we decided to come. We’ve divided the tour into the war part and the culture part. Ghent is the latter. Cheers!


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