You can’t miss the Belfry of Ghent, Belgium when visiting the city. Even if you don’t visit it, you’ll see if from different points in the city, towering above the other buildings.
Visiting the Belfry of Ghent
Built in 1313 (but adjusted several times since), the Belfry is part of the “Three Towers of Ghent”, together with the St. Bavo Cathedral and the St. Nicolas church. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.
At first important city documents were kept in the Belfry, later the tower also served as a watchtower from where watchmen could keep an eye over the city. They especially watched our for fires. When danger was coming, they’d ring the bells of the Belfry.
You can see stone sculptures representing the watchmen in the basement of the Belfry of Ghent. Only one of them (the one on the right in the picture below) is an original statue. If you look closely you’ll see that he’s much more damaged them the three replicas, who still look rather new.
The watchmen weren’t on their own, though. They were being helped by a dragon who had his place on top of the tower.
The best known bell of the Belfry is called Roland. First it only served as an alarm bell, but later it was used to indicate each hour and thus regulate life in the city. A collection of smaller bells “warned” preceded the hourly ringing of Roland to warn the people that a new hour was almost there.
What’s cool is that on the top floor you can see the working tune mechanism of the bells. When they start ringing, the mechanism starts to function for visitors to see.
Belfry of Ghent
St. Baafsplein, Ghent
Open every day from 10 am until 6 pm, except on December 25, 26, 31 and January 1.
Where to stay in Ghent
If you’re looking for an apartment rather than a hotel, I would recommend checking airbnb. Sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
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I received a Ghent CityCard from VisitGent to visit some sights during my day trip to Ghent. My mom paid her own way. We both enjoyed our visit of the Belfry just as much, so you can be sure that getting the card has nothing to do with that and that partnerships like this will never affect how I write about a place. The links to Booking.com and TripAdvisor are affiliate links. If you book a stay through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting the site!