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"Must Sees" in Ghent

will be travelling to Ghent via train and will have 2 days there. No car. Aside from the Altarpiece, what are the Must Sees in Ghent?? We will be travelling in early April.

Posted by
5811 posts

These are the places we saw:
1. Gravensteen castle
2. Sint Veerleplein – square
3. St. Michaels bridge
4. Graslei and Korenlei - walking
5. Belfry and tower
6. Stadhuis - City hall
7. Vrijdagmarkt - square
8. Korenmarkt - square
9. Het Groot Vleeshuis – beer hall
10. Rabot Sluice – a lock
11. Van Eyck brothers statue
12. St. Bavo’s cathedral - alter
13. Glass alley – red light area, Pieter Vanderdoncktdoorgang 1
14. Metselaarshuis - Mason’s guild hall
15. Castillo de Gerardo el Diablo
16. Werregarenstraat - alley with bright paintings.

Posted by
13210 posts

I’d add the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) where they are restoring the altarpiece. That was fascinating to watch as the restorers peered through high powered microscopes and used what looked like Q-tips and dental scrapers on tiny segments.

On the RS tour we also visited the Museum of Industry (MIAT) which was interesting. There were lots of displays on weaving technology so if that is not of interest to you, I’d skip.

Posted by
27 posts

thank you. I had forgotten that the altarpiece is undergoing restoration. I will add this to our itinerary!

Posted by
2674 posts

St. Bavo's Cathedral and Ghent Altarpiece sounds like its Ghent’s best kept secret.

Posted by
1898 posts

Not to miss is the “Van Eyck An Optical Revolution” exhibition in the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent. With about ten works this is the largest Van Eyck exhibition ever and runs till coming 30th April. For this occasion the outer panels of the Altarpiece are also on display in the museum too, the others remain in Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. With the exception of the Adam and Eve outer panels the restauration project is completed. Layers of paint and varnish added later by others were removed, the Altarpiece is now brought back to it’s former glory, the result is spectacular.

Later this year the new visitor center at the backside of the cathedral will open it’s doors and for that the Altarpiece will get a new final place inside the cathedral.

Posted by
13210 posts

Oh Wil! That looks wonderful! Wish I were back in Belgium to see this exhibition. I usually prefer later periods of art but the Altarpiece blew me away when I realized the detail I was seeing. The new Visitor Center will be wonderful because crammed in that small corner area it is so difficult to get a good look. When I was at MSK they were working on the main Adoration of the Lamb panel and it was just remarkable.

To the OP, I had saved this link from a previous post and it was helpful in understanding the work before I got there.

Posted by
1898 posts

Pam – for getting an idea about the result I found this article of the Flemish national broadcasting company VRT. It’s in Dutch only, for some reason selecting another language doesn’t work here, so it are the pictures that have to tell the story, to view them just scroll down. “Voor” means before and “na” after restauration. Interesting details are the original “human” eyes of the Lamb causing serious discussions, in some cases the skills of the experts are even questioned but that's the way Van Eyck painted them.

Like to add Saint-Pieters church having a very lovely Baroque interior and Patershol a nice historic district between Vrijdagsmarkt and Gravensteen.

Posted by
13210 posts

I opened your link in Chrome and it translated it fine although I couldn't get a translation to come up on the interviews. I'll see if I can find them in another source later and get them with English subtitles. The voor/na is so stunning. You can see the plants even more clearly with the brown soup off them! I am a detail person and what amazed me was the teeny tiny details he/they included in the backgrounds, particularly of the Adoration of the Lamb panel. Just amazing! The painting of the lamb's eyes and the discussion is very interesting! Thanks so much!