Useful to know when you are looking for retail in Gent
Ghent is the third largest city of Belgium with around 250.000 inhabitants (2018), and is located in the Flemish region, East Flanders province.
Ghent is ‘one of the oldest cities of Belgium, with a rich history dating far back. The earliest evidence of human presence has been archaeologically dated back to the Stone age. Since then the area around Ghent has been inhabited by dozens of civilisations, who all have left their imprint on the city. Ghent has successfully preserved many of the buildings and constructions from some of the later centuries, which is why Ghent is known as a view into the past of Belgium. The Mediaeval architecture still stands strong and is well maintained.
Additionally these old charming churches and houses attract tourists from all over Europe. In the centre of Ghent was once the St-Pietersabdij Abbey (a kind of monastery), a baroque-fronted church survived and now decorate the centre with beautiful spears and grand entrances. A walk through the centre will almost take you to a different time, especially as the zone is car-free.
Ghent is the perfect example of a city large enough to feel the fast paced big city life, yet also small enough to feel cosy and know your neighbors by first name. There’s also a contrast in the city landscape, as the centre is full of stunning old architecture, but there are also industrial streets in the suburbs providing the area with jobs.
As one of Belgium's largest universities is located in the city, a lot of students choose to settle here, pulling down the average age and livening up the nightlife and artistic scene.
This has been one of the factors causing Ghent to end up with some of the best museums in Belgium.
If you venture a bit out of the city borders, a 12th-century stone castle by the name Gravesteen will appear complete with turrets, arrow slits and moats.
The nature around Ghent is quite picture-worthy as well. Parks are located throughout the area, and close by lies a nature reserve with a stunning and kind of mysterious landscape full of marshes and water birds wintering.
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