In a unique way, the beautiful Ghent has managed to preserve its medieval power while keeping up with the times. Ghent was one of the biggest cities in Western Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, renowned for its textile industry. Today it is the third biggest city of Belgium and one of the most beautiful ones.
The city centre alone is a showcase of medieval Flemish wealth and commercial success. Nearby Bruges may be cuter, but Ghent is more of a real city, and has better museums, better nightlife, restaurants and is not that touristy.
Modern Ghent certainly cannot be overlooked either. The city has an important port, thanks to the canal Ghent-Terneuzen which allows sea-going vessels to bring their products to the city and its industrial hinterland. The tourist will not have eyes enough to admire the awesome architectural wealth, which offers a splendid combination of impressiveness and idyllic charm of the proud and (in former times) often rebellious city of Ghent. The major attractions are the Counts’ Castle, the Belfry and Saint Bavon’s Cathedral, not to forget the splendid Graslei.
Also renowned are the Ghent Festivities, the biggest street theater festival in Europe. Each year around the end of July, street artists from all over the world come to Ghent giving street performance at every possible hour at the festival, lasting 10 days. At the same time, other festivals take place like the technofestival 10 days off, the jazzfestival Bluenote and the Latino Music Festival Pole Pole with a huge stage over the main river in Ghent. Apart from this, many rock bands perform and many side activities are organized.