Ghent

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Ghent
Gent (Dutch)
Belfry o Ghent. Ahint it the Saunt Nicholas church is visible.

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Coat of arms
Ghent is located in Belgium
Ghent
Ghent
Location in Belgium
Coordinates: 51°3′N 3°44′E / 51.050°N 3.733°E / 51.050; 3.733
Kintra Belgium
Region Flemish Region
Commonty Flemish Commonty
Province East Flanders
Arrondissement Ghent
Government
 • Mayor (list) Daniël Termont (sp.a)
 • Governing party/ies sp.a, Open VLD, Pro Gent
Area
 • Total 156.18 km2 (60.30 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2012)[1]
 • Total 248,242
 • Density 1,600/km2 (4,100/sq mi)
Demographics
 • Foreigners 7.31% (01 Julie 2005)
Postal codes 9000–9052
Aurie codes 09
Website www.gent.be

Ghent (Inglis pronunciation: /ˈɡɛnt/; Dutch: Gent, pronounced [ʝɛnt]; French: Gand, pronounced: [ɡɑ̃]; an umwhile Gaunt in Inglis; frae the Classic Laitin term Candia or Gandia meanin landlock bi the confluence o rivers bi the union o the Celtic term "Cand" an Laitin "ia" land) is a ceety an a municipality locatit in the Flemish Region o Belgium. It is the caipital an biggest ceety o the East Flanders province. The ceety stairtit as a settlement at the confluence o the Rivers Scheldt an Lys an in the Middle Ages became ane o the lairgest an richest ceeties o northren Europe. The day it is a busy ceety wi a port an a university. Although mony o Belgium's visitors owerleuk Ghent, its beauty is aften compared tae the mair well-kent Bruges.

The municipality comprises the ceety o Ghent proper an the touns o Afsnee, Desteldonk, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Mendonk, Oostakker, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel, Wondelgem an Zwijnaarde. Wi 240,191 inhabitants in the beginning o 2009,[2] Ghent is Belgium's seicont lairgest municipality bi number o inhabitants. The metropolitan aurie, includin the ooter commuter zone, covers an aurie o 1,205 km2 (465 sq mi) an haes a total population o 594,582 as o 1 Januar 2008, which ranks it as the fowert maist muckle in Belgium.[3][4]

History[eedit | eedit soorce]

Ghent in 1775

Airchaeological evidence shows human presence in the region o the confluence o Scheldt an Lys goin back as far as the Stane Age an the Iron Age. Maist historians believe that the aulder name for Ghent, 'Ganda', is derived frae the Celtic wird 'ganda' which means confluence.[5] There are nae written records o the Roman period but airchaeological research confirms that the region o Ghent wis further inhabitit.

When the Franks invadit the Roman territories (frae the end o the 4t century an well intae the 5t century) they brought their leid wi them an Celtic an Laitin wur replaced bi Auld Dutch.

Aroond 650 Saunt Amand foondit twae abbeys in Ghent: the Saunt Peter Abbey an the St. Bavo's Abbey. The ceety grew frae several nuclei, the abbeys an a commercial centre. Aroond 800 Louis the Pious, son o Charlemagne, appointit Einhard, the biographer o Charlemagne, as abbot o baith abbeys. In 851 an 879 the ceety wis housomeivver attacked an plundered twice bi the Vikings.

The ceety recovered an flourished frae the 11t century on. Till the 13t century Ghent wis the biggest ceety in Europe efter Paris; it wis bigger than Lunnon, Cologne or Moscow. Athin the ceety waws lived up tae 65,000 fowk. The day, the belfry an the touers o the Saunt Bavo Cathedral an Saunt Nicholas' Kirk are juist a few examples o the skyline o the period.

The rivers flowed in an aurie whaur a lot o land wis periodically inundatit. These richly grassed 'meersen' ("water-meadows": a wird relatit tae the Inglis 'marsh', but no meanin exactly the same: a 'meers' is no permanently unner water) wur ideally suitit for herdin sheep, the wool o which wis uised for makkin cloth. In fact, Ghent wis, durin the Middle Ages, the maist important ceety for cloth.

The wool industry, orieeginally established at Bruges, creatit the first European industrialized zone in Ghent in the Heich Middle Ages. The mercantile zone wis so heichlie developed that wool haed tae be importit frae Scotland an Ingland. This wis ane o the reasons for Flanders' guid relationship wi Scotland an Ingland. Ghent wis the birthplace o John o Gaunt, Duke o Lancaster. The trade wi Ingland (but no Scotland) suffered significantly durin the Hunder Years' War.

The ceety recovered in the 14t century, while Flanders wis unitit wi neighbourin provinces unner the Dukes o Burgundy. Heich taxes led tae a rebellion an eventually the Battle o Gavere in 1453, in which Ghent suffered a terrible defeat at the haunds o Philip the Guid. Aroond this time the center o poleetical an social importance in the Law Kintras stairtit tae shift frae Flanders (Bruges–Ghent) tae Brabant (AntwerpBrussels), although Ghent wad continue tae play an important role.

Biggins alang the Leie river in Ghent
Justitiepaleis, Ghent, ca. 1895

In 1500 Juana o Castile gave birth tae Charles V, who became Holy Roman Emperor an Keeng o Spain. Although native tae Ghent, he punished the ceety efter the 1539 Revolt o Ghent an obliged the ceety's nobles tae walk in front o the emperor barefuit wi a noose (Dutch: strop) aroond the neck; syne this incident, the fowk o Ghent hae been cried "Stroppendragers" (noose bearers). The Saunt Bavo Abbey wis abolished, torn doun, an replaced wi a fortress for Spainyie troops. Anerlie a sma portion o the abbey wis spared demolition.

The late 16t an the 17t century brought devastation acause o the Releegious wars. At ane time Ghent wis a Calvinistic republic, but eventually the Spainyie airmy reinstatit Catholicism. The wars endit the role o Ghent as a center o internaitional importance. In 1745 the ceety wis captured bi French forces durin the War o the Austrian Succession afore being returned tae Austrick follaein the Treaty o Aix-la-Chapelle.

In the 18t an 19t century the textile industry flourished again in Ghent. In 1800 Lieven Bauwens, haein smuggled the plans oot o Ingland, introduced the first mechanical weavin machine on the European continent.

Ghent wis an aa the steid o the signin o the Treaty o Ghent which formally endit the War o 1812 atween Breetain an the Unitit States. Efter the battle o Waterloo Ghent became a pairt o the Unitit Kinrick o the Netherlands for 15 years. In this period Ghent established its awn university (1817) an a new connection tae the sea (1824–27).

Efter the Belgian Revolution, wi the loss o port access tae the sea for mair than a decade, the local economy collapsed an the first Belgian trade-union oreeginatit in Ghent. In 1913 there wis a Warld exhibition in Ghent. As a preparation for these festivities, the Sint-Pieters railway station wis completit in 1912.

Geography[eedit | eedit soorce]

Municipality[eedit | eedit soorce]

Municipalities

Efter the 1965 an 1977 fusions the ceety is made up o:

Neighbourin municipalities[eedit | eedit soorce]

Tourism[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Graslei is ane o the maist scenic places in Ghent's aild ceety centre. The brig tae the richt is the Sint-Michielsbrug, the biggin on the corner is the umwhile postal office an in the distance tae the richt the three touers o Ghent can be seen.

Airchitectur[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Gravensteen
Ghent at Nicht
Riverside in Ghent

Hintle o the cety's medieval airchitectur remains intact an is remarkably well preserved an restored. Its centre is the lairgest carfree area in Belgium. Interestin heichlichts are the Saint Bavo Cathedral wi the Ghent Altarpiece, the belfry, the Gravensteen castle, an the splendid airchitectur alang the auld Graslei harbour. Ghent established a nice blend atween comfort o livin an history – it is no a ceety-museum. The ceety o Ghent hooses an aa three béguinages an numerous kirks, amang which the Saunt-James' kirk, the Saunt-Nicolas' kirk an the Saunt Michael's Kirk are the maist bonnie examples.

In the nineteent century Ghent's maist famous airchitect, Louis Roelandt, built the university haw Aula, the opera house an the main courthoose. Heichlichts o modren airchitectur are the university biggins (the Boekentoren or Beuk Touer) bi Henry Van de Velde. There are an' a' a few theatres frae diverse periods.

The beguinages, as well as the belfry an adjacent cloth haw, wur recognized bi UNESCO as Warld Heritage Steids in 1998 an 1999.

Museums[eedit | eedit soorce]

Important museums in Ghent are the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum o Fine Airts), wi paintins bi Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens, an mony Flemish maisters; the SMAK or Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (Ceety Museum for Contemporary Airt), wi wirks o the 20t century, includin Joseph Beuys an Andy Warhol; an the Design Museum wi maisterpieces o Victor Horta an Le Corbusier. The Huis van Alijn (Hoose o the Alijn family) wis oreeginally a beguinage an is nou a museum for fowk airt whaur theatre an puppet shows for childer are presentit. The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel or MIAT displays the industrial strength o Ghent wi recreations o wirkshops an stores frae the 1800s an oreeginal spinnin an weavin machines that remain frae the time when the biggin wis a weavin mill. STAM, the new Ghent Ceety Museum, is committit tae recordin an explainin the past o the ceety an its inhabitants, an tae preserve the present for futur generations.

Restaurants an culinary traditions[eedit | eedit soorce]

As wi maist Belgian ceeties, Ghent affers a rich variety o local an foreign cuisine. The ceety centre an quarter cried "Patershol" haes a huge concentration o restaurants. The "Sleepstraat" a little bit further north hooses a number o Turkis restaurants an fuid bars. By contrast, restaurants are rather spairse ayont the "historic centre".

In Ghent an ither regions o East Flanders, bakeries sell a donut-shaped bun cried a "mastel" (plural "mastellen"), which is basically a bagel. "Mastellen" are an aa cried "Saunt Hubert bread", acause on the Saunt's feast day, which is 3 November, the bakers bring their batches tae the early Mass tae be blessed. Traditionally, it is thought that blessed mastellen immunize against rabies.

As wi mony auries o northren Belgium the diet centres aroond herty stews an soups. Flemish beef stew (stoverij) is available amaist aawhere as is "Waterzooi", a local stew oreeginally made frae freshwater fish caught in the rivers an creeks o Ghent, but nouadays aften made wi chicken insteid o fish. It is uisually served nouvelle-cuisine-style, an will be supplemented bi a lairge pot on the side.

The ceety promotes a meat-free day on Thursdays cried Donderdag Veggiedag[6][7] wi vegetarian fuid being promotit in public canteens for ceevil servants an electit cooncillors, in aw ceety fundit schuils, an promotion o vegetarian eatin options in toun (through the distribution o "veggie street maps"). This campaign is linked tae the recognition o the detrimental environmental effects o meat production, which the Unitit Naitions' Fuid an Agricultur Organization haes established tae represent nearly ane-fift o global greenhoose gas emissions.

Festivities[eedit | eedit soorce]

The ceety is host tae some big cultural events such as the Gentse Feesten, I Love Techno, "10 Days Off" muisical festival, Flanders International Film Festival Ghent (wi the World Soundtrack Awards) an the Gent Festival van Vlaanderen. An aa, ivery five years, a huge botanical exhibition (Gentse Floraliën) takes place in Ghent, attractin numerous visitors tae the ceety.

The Festival o Flanders haed its 50t celebration in 2008. In Ghent it opens wi the OdeGand Ceety festivities that takes place on the seicont Seturday o September. Some 50 concerts take place in diverse locations throughoot the medieval inner-ceety an some 250 international artists performs. Ither major Flemish ceeties hold similar events, aw o which form pairt o the Festival o Flanders (Antwerp wi Laus Polyphoniae; Bruges with MAfestival; Brussels wi KlaraFestival; Limburg wi Basilica, Mechelen an Brabant wi Novecento an Transit).

Economy[eedit | eedit soorce]

The port o Ghent, in the north o the ceety, is the third lairgest port o Belgium. It is accessed bi the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, which ends near the Dutch port o Terneuzen on the Wastren Scheldt. The port hooses, amang ithers, big companies like Arcelor-Mittal, Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks, Volvo Parts, Honda, an Stora Enso.

The Ghent University an a number o research orientit companies are situatit in the central an soothren pairt o the ceety, such as Ablynx, Innogenetics, Cropdesign, Bayer Cropscience.

As the biggest ceety o East-Flanders, Ghent haes mony hospitals, schuils an shoppin streets.

Tourism is increasingly becomin a major employer in the local aurie.

Transport[eedit | eedit soorce]

As ane o the lairgest ceeties in Belgium, Ghent haes a heichlie developed transportation seestem.

  • In addition Ghent an aa haes twa ringways:
    • The R4: connects the ouotskirts o Ghent wi each ither an the surroondin veelages, an an' a' leads tae the E40 an E17 roads.
    • The R40: connects the different dountoun quarters wi each ither, an provides access tae the main avenues.
  • The municipality o Ghent comprises five train stations:
    • Gent-Sint-Pieters Station: an internaitional train station wi connections tae Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Kortrijk, ither Belgian touns an Lille. The station an aa affers a direct connection tae Brussels Airport.
    • Gent-Dampoort Station: an interceety train station wi connections tae Sint-Niklaas, Antwerp, Kortrijk an Eeklo.
    • Gentbrugge Station: a regional train station in atween the twa main train stations, Sint-Pieters an Dampoort.
    • Wondelgem Station: a regional train station wi connections tae Eeklo ance an oor.
    • Drongen Station: a regional train station in the veelage o Drongen wi anerlie a limited number o trains a day.
  • Ghent haes an extensive wab o public transport lines, operatit bi De Lijn:
    • Ghent Tram (see picturs belaw):
      • Line 1: Flanders Expo - Sint-Pieters-Station - Korenmarkt (ceety centre) - Evergem
      • Line 21: Zwijnaardebrug - UZ - Sint-Pieters-Station - Zonnestraat (ceety centre) - Zuid - Melle Leeuw
      • Line 22: Zwijnaardebrug - UZ - Sint-Pieters-Station - Zonnestraat (ceety centre) - Zuid - Gentbrugge
      • Line 4: Sint-Pieters-Station - Muide - Korenmarkt (city centre) - Zuid - Moscou
    • Ceety buses (see pictur belaw):
      • Line 3: Mariakerke - Korenmarkt (ceety centre) - Dampoort-Station - Gentbrugge (umwhile Trolleybus (see pictur belaw))
      • Line 5: Van Beverenplein - Sint-Jacobs (ceety centre) - Zuid - UZ - Zwijnaarde
      • Line 6: Watersportbaan - Zuid - Dampoort-Station - Wondelgem - Mariakerke
      • Line 8: Zuid - University - Sint-Pieters-Station - Blaarmeersen
      • Line 9: Mariakerke - Malem - Sint-Pieters-Station - Gentbrugge
      • Line 17/18: Drongen - Korenmarkt (ceety centre) - Dampoort-Station - Oostakker
      • Line 38/39: Blaarmeersen - Korenmarkt (ceety centre) - Dampoort-Station - Sint-Amandsberg
    • At Sint-Pieters-Station an the Zuid bus station there are several regional buses as well.

When arrivin in Ghent, it is best tae leave caurs in Pairk & Ride zones next tae the road. The actual ceety centre is a caur free aurie, an pairkin is difficult an expensive in the ceety. On weekends, nicht buses provide free transportation through the nicht.

Sports[eedit | eedit soorce]

In the Belgian first fitbaa diveesion Ghent is representit bi K.A.A. Gent. Anither Ghent fitbaa club is KRC Gent-Zeehaven, playin in the Belgian fowert diveesion.

Ivery year the Sax Days o Flanders, a sax-day track cyclin race, is held in Ghent. It takes place in the Kuipke velodrome.

The ceety an aa hosts an annual track an field meet at the Flanders Sports Arena: the Indoor Flanders meetin. It is ane o the IAAF's foremaist indoor track an field events an twa-time Oleempic champion Hicham El Guerrouj set a warld record at the event in 1997.

Internaitional relations[eedit | eedit soorce]

Twin touns — Sister ceeties[eedit | eedit soorce]

Ghent is twinned wi:[8]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. Population per municipality on 1 January 2012 (XLS; 214 KB)
  2. Statistics Belgium; Werkelijke bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2009 (excel-file) Population of all municipalities in Belgium, as of 1 January 2009. Retrieved on 2010-11-28.
  3. Statistics Belgium; Werkelijke bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2008 (excel-file) Population o aw municipalities in Belgium, as o 1 Januar 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  4. Statistics Belgium; De Belgische Stadsgewesten 2001 (pdf-file) Definitions o metropolitan auries in Belgium. The metropolitan aurie o Ghent is dividit intae three levels. First, the central agglomeration (agglomeratie) wi 278,457 inhabitants (2008-01-01). Addin the closest surroondins (banlieue) gives a total o 423,320, includin the ooter commuter zone (forensenwoonzone) the population is 594,582. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named gent.be-history
  6. "Ghent's veggie day: for English speaking visitors" on Vegetarisme.be
  7. "Belgian city plans 'veggie' days" on BBC News (2009-05-12).
  8. Gent van A tot Z: Zustersteden.

Freemit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]