Sint-Baafskathedraal (St. Bavo’s Cathedral, map). Don’t miss this cathedral. Rather unimpressive exterior of Romanesque, Gothic, and baroque architecture. However, the interior is filled with priceless paintings and sculptures, including the 24-panel altarpiece “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”, completed by Jan van Eyck in 1432. Other art treasures in the cathedral include Rubens’s restored “The Conversion of St. Bavo” from 1623.
Het Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts, map). Built by Count Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders, soon after he returned from the Crusades in 1180 with images of similar crusader castles in the Holy Land. If its walls (2 m thick), battlements, and turrets failed to intimidate attackers, the count could always turn to a well-equipped torture chamber inside.
Sint-Niklaaskerk (St Nicholas’s Church, map). A mixture of surviving Romanesque elements of the Flemish architectural style known as Schelde Gothic, the impressive 13th- to 15th-century church was paid for by Ghent’s wealthy medieval merchants and guilds.
Vooruit (map). The cooperative ‘Vooruit’ (Progress) was running shops, bakeries, a newspaper, a cinema and a cultural centre for the labour movement. Some of the buildings are exquisite examples of late 19th/early 20th century art nouveau and art deco. Main examples can be found on Vrijdagsmarkt (the headquarter ‘Ons Huis’ – Our House – still in use today by the trade union, map) and the Kunstencentrum Vooruit on Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat, cultural temple of the labour movement and today in use as an Arts Centre and concert hall.
Graslei (map). The medieval harbour is a beautiful setting with many historic buildings, including the house of the Grain Weighers, the toll house, and the Guildhall of the Free Boatmen, fronting onto the river Leie.
Groot Begijnhof Sint-Elisabeth (Old Saint Elisabeth Béguinage, map), Begijnhofdriespark. This béguinage was founded in 1234 and was soon named after Saint-Elisabeth who was canonized in 1236. The last beguines departed from here in 1874 for the new Sint-Amandsberg béguinage.
City Hall (Stadhuis, map). There is a Gothic facade facing the street Hoogpoort and a Renaissance facade facing the street Botermarkt. (Botermarkt literally means butter market.) Indoors, there are different styles. The belfry is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Graffiti alley (map). Where the local graffiti artists are allowed to do their work. Although other around the town on buildings are of better quality and artistic value.