(105K) Ghent by night
A beautiful picture of the "Three Towers of Ghent", probably one of the most photographed views of the city. From left to right you see:
<70K> Another view of the Belfrey
Looking from a different angle: Saint Nicholas's Church would be to your right, Saint Bavo's Cathedral to your left. The building on the right in the foreground is the City Hall, showing a mix of styles spanning six centuries of construction. This is where the Pacification of Ghent, a historical peace treaty between Protestants and Catholics, was signed in 1576. It is the first declaration of religious and political tolerance in human history.
The picture of the Belfort was taken by a friend of mine, Françoise Beaufays, during the Gentse Feesten (The popular Summer Festivities of Ghent"). This is a yearly 10-day festival during the week of the 21st of July (Belgian national holiday celebrating the ascension of King Leopold I to the throne in 1831). Do drop by if you're in the area!! 10 days of partying, fireworks, free bands playing on about 10 different podia throughout the city, fairs, markets, street theater, jugglers, and lots and lots of happy people.
<48K> The Castle of the Counts
A true medieval castle in the middle of the city! The original castle was built around 868 by Count Baldwin I, rebuilt and expanded by the Count of Flanders around 1180. The Gravensteen was the seat of the Council of Flanders. Inside, you can visit the torture chambers (complete with thumbscrews, a rack, executioners' swords, guillotine etc). Throw a penny in the oubliette...
The three large flags on top are (left to right) the flag of Flanders, the flag of the province of East Flanders and the Belgian flag. In front you can barely make out another Flemish flag, and the blue European Community flag.
Another perhaps important feature of Ghent is that it was the place where the final Independence of the United States was signed in 1814 (The "Treaty of Ghent").
Other links to pages about Ghent:
Ghent (by the University)
Ghent (Official site)