The 91-metre-tall belfry of Ghent is a civic tower and one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city centre of Ghent, the other two belonging to Saint Bavo's Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church.
The civic tower of Ghent is part of the list of bell towers of Belgium and France and is registered in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The belfry was erected in Gothic style starting from 1313. In 1323 four floors out of six had already been raised. Between 1377 and 1380 a temporary wooden crown was added on which the legendary Draak van Gent, the Dragon of Ghent, was raised.
Later the crowns, always wooden, were changed several times until in 1851 a neo-Gothic cast iron spire was hoisted there. However, half a century later, the spire showed significant signs of deterioration, so the imminent Universal Exhibition of 1913 was used to rebuild it. The project was presented by Valentin Vaerwyck and was immediately approved and implemented.
Over the centuries it assumed different functions: from the place where the civic papers were kept (archive) to the watchtower of the city where the civic guards resided.
At the beginning the bells were used only in religious contexts, but the more the cities developed and the more the bells performed different functions in daily life: from the scanning of the hours to the alarm signals.
To date the mockery of Ghent has 54 bells.
Belfry of Ghent
Sint-Baafsplein, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
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