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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Increasing number of visitors for Ghent

Since the BBC began to broadcast Philippa Gregory's The White Queen, the Flemish town of Ghent has seen its number of visitors increased by 66% already. Also the town of Bruges gets more tourists than normal.

The reason why? The BBC filmed most of the outdoor scenes in Flanders. This is because our old castles and houses are well maintained and in much better condition than the English ones.

Seeing all those wonderful old buildings draws tourists to Flanders. And Ghent is certainly worth a visit. In the Middle Ages, Ghent was the seat of the Count of Flanders, who reigned over Flanders (which was in fact what are now the 5 Flemish-speaking provinces of Belgium, plus parts of Holland and the northwest of France). The Count lived in a keep called Het Gravensteen, which is one of the best kept mediƫval burghs in Europe.

Other sights should include the St. Baafs cathedral, where you can admire the famous painting Het Lam Gods by the brothers Van Eyck. The painting became especially famous because one of the panels was stolen somewhere in the 1930s. Since then, every private investigator is looking for the lost panel. If you could find it, you can expect a big reward!

Also the Graslei is worth seeing (picture one). All the houses along this water belonged to rich traders who wanted to show off their wealth. And rich they were in those Middle Ages...

So if you ever visit Belgium, don't only go to Brussels, but also try to make a stop in the wonderful town of Ghent. The inhabitants are very friendly and as you know, Belgium is well-known for its thousands types of beers and the wonderful food!

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