A birds’ eye view of Gent, Belgium
I’ve already written about the visit with my youngest son to visit the charming, medieval town of Ghent, in Belgium.
It was my first time in that picture-perfect town, which was rendered even more beautiful by the warm spring sunshine.
My son and I did what we always do when we visit a new town – we seek out the city’s highest point.
In a modern city, that will probably be a skyscraper. In a medieval European city like Gent, it is almost always a bell tower. And so, not surprisingly, we made our way to the Belfort, the 91 meter tall bell tower topped with a golden dragon visible from all over the town.
Constructed in 1313, the bell tower has undergone renovations in the 19th and 20th centuries, but those narrow little stairs curving to the top don’t seem to have changed much from the 14th century in which they were constructed.
We had quite a hike up those curving stairs (for the less intrepid visitors, there is also a lift. But what’s the fun in that?)
My son sprinted up, and I followed steadily – and more slowly – behind him. The views from up top were well worth the effort.
I always love seeing the towns I visit from these spectacular vantage points, and admiring the impressive architecture and winding streets from these birds’ eye perspective.
Another plus of visiting the Belfort is the intricate carillon bell system marking out the hours and quarter hours.
Its complicated series of 54 bells chime every fifteen minutes, and it is fun to watch the mechanical maneuverings that get this done.
This carrion system of bells is common in Belgium and northern France.
When next in Gent, be sure to climb up this medieval bell tower for jaw-dropping views over this medieval town.
Race you up…
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