Belfort (Belfry of Ghent), Ghent

Belfort (Belfry of Ghent), Ghent (must see)

There are three medieval towers rising over the old city of Ghent: Saint Bavo Cathedral, Saint Nicholas' Church and the 298 foot Belfry of Ghent. The building of the Belfry tower began in 1313, following the designs of master mason Jan van Haelst. Wars, pestilence and politics slowed progress but the tower was completed in 1380.

At the peak of the tower sits the latest version of the gilded Dragon of Ghent. The original dragon, installed in 1382, was acquired by Count Baldwin IX of Flanders and brought to Bruges. It later became a war trophy of Ghent. Meant to protect charters and documents stored in the tower, the Dragon became a symbol of the city's power.

The upper reaches of the tower have been rebuilt occasionally to allow for a growing number of bells. The campanile was finished in 1771 with a spire designed by architect Louis 't Kindt. A neo-Gothic spire was installed in 1851. It was replaced in 1913 by the stone spire of today.

Historically the belfry bells were used to announce the time, sound warnings and announce victories. The great alarm bell called "Roland" was installed in 1325. After he had subdued an uprising in Ghent, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V ordered Roland removed.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
"...I am Roland! I am Roland!
There is victory in the land!"

Why You Should Visit:
Climbing this tower on your visit to Ghent is imperative! Not excessively high, but still allows a very pretty view of the city and of the Cathedral right next to it.

Tip:
Stick around for the chiming of the bells on the hour. You can watch how the bell mechanism works from the inside or stand outside on the corridor and just listen. The admission forms part of the CityCard Gent so if you plan to visit multiple attractions, you might save a few euros by buying a CityCard.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Ghent. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Belfort (Belfry of Ghent) on Map

Sight Name: Belfort (Belfry of Ghent)
Sight Location: Ghent, Belgium (See walking tours in Ghent)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Ghent, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Ghent

Create Your Own Walk in Ghent

Creating your own self-guided walk in Ghent is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Ghent's Historical Buildings

Ghent's Historical Buildings

The medieval city of Ghent is full of wonderful old buildings, some dating back as far as the 12th-13th centuries. Medieval buildings are indeed everywhere here, and if you're interested in the heritage fit to capture you imagination, you will find plenty of it in Ghent’s historic downtown.

And you won’t have to look far for the World Heritage worthy of its name either. The Castle of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Ghent Introduction Walking Tour

Ghent Introduction Walking Tour

Some historians believe "Ghent" comes from the Celtic word, "ganda." "Ganda" meant a confluence, as with two rivers. There are traces of human settlements as far back as the stone age at the confluence of the rivers Scheldt and Leie in Belgium.

With the Frankish invasions at the end of the 4th century AD, the Celtic language was replaced by Old Dutch and this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles