The history of Ghent begins in the year 630, when St Amandus chose the site of the confluence (or ‘Ganda’) of the two rivers, the Lys and the Scheldt, to construct an abbey. Nearly 1400 years of history are still palpable in the city today: a medieval castle surrounded by a moat, an imposing cathedral, a belfry, three beguinages...
From the year 1000 to around 1550, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe. It was bigger than London and second only to Paris in size. The 60,000 inhabitants it had in the 14th century clung forcefully to their rights: earls and princes discovered that the proud and rebellious people of Ghent would not relinquish their hard-won privileges and freedoms without a fight.
Because it suffered little bomb damage during the two world wars, Ghent’s historical heritage has remained largely intact right up to the present.
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