St-Jacobskerk (St James' Church), Ghent

St-Jacobskerk (St James' Church), Ghent

In the 11th century a wooden church was dedicated to Saint James. One hundred years later the wooden church was replaced with a Romanesque structure of stone. From the beginning the church was an important meeting place for pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Santiago de Compostella.

A scallop shell embedded into a flagstone at St. James' is a reminder that the apostle is buried in Santiago de Compostella. Scallop shells were once abundant there. St. James is a pilgrimage milestone.

The twin towers on either side of the entrance date from 1120. The octagonal transverse tower, built in the 13th century, is in the style called Scheldt Gothic. Side chapels belonging to the guilds were added in the 14th century.

The interior of the church is a blend of Romanesque and Baroque elements. The church is home to a Van Peteghem organ. The church was a meeting place for the guilds. It also houses paintings and art pieces and the tomb of Jan Palfjin, the inventor of the forceps.

Beside religious considerations, the church is also a cultural center. The square around the church is called Saint James' Square. It is the center of the famous Ghent Festivities, the annual mis-July people's festival marking the beginning of summer.

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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St-Jacobskerk (St James' Church) on Map

Sight Name: St-Jacobskerk (St James' Church)
Sight Location: Ghent, Belgium (See walking tours in Ghent)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Ghent, Belgium

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