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Gent travel guide — Gent tourism and travel information

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about Gent

Ghent (Gent in Dutch, Gand in French, once Gaunt in English) is a municipality located in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium, and in the Flemish province of East Flanders, of which it is the capital. The city centre lies at the confluence of rivers Scheldt and Lys. It is situated at the crossing of the European routes E17 and E40.

The municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the towns of Afsnee, Desteldonk, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Mendonk, Oostakker, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel, Wondelgem and Zwijnaarde. On January 1st, 2001 Ghent had a total population of 225.956. The total area is 157.69 km² which gives a population density of 1421.65 inhabitants per km². In terms of population it is Belgium's fourth largest municipality.

Gent history

The region of Ghent was inhabited in Celtic times. The name Ghent comes from the Celtic word 'ganda' which means converging of e.g. two rivers (Scheldt and Lys). There are no written records of the Roman period but archeological research confirms that the region of Ghent was further inhabited.

When the Franks invaded the Roman territories (from the end of the 4th century and well into the 5th century) they brought their language with them and Ghent became a region where Celtic and Latin were replaced by (ancient) Dutch.

From the 7th century on, Ghent had two important abbeys Sint-Pieters (625-650) and Sint-Baafs (650). The city grew from several nuclei, the abbeys and a commercial centre. Around 800, the city must have been important enough for Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, to appoint Einhard as abbot of both abbeys. Einhard was the biographer of Charlemagne, Charles the Great.

The rivers flowed in an area where a lot of land was periodically inundated. These 'meersen' (a word related to the English 'marsh', but not meaning excatly the same, a 'meers' is not permanently under water.) were ideally suited for herding sheep, which wool was used for making cloth. In fact, Ghent was during the middle ages the most important city for cloth.

Outside Italy, Ghent was until the 13th century the biggest city after Paris. Within the city walls lived up to 60.000 or 65.000 people. It was e.g. bigger than London, Cologne or Moscow. Today, the center of the city still has several large towers, the belfry and the towers of the Cathedral and Sint-Niklaas Church are just a few examples of what could be called the 'Manhattan of the Middle Ages'.

Ghent was a city where the wool-industry was so important that wool had to be imported from England. This was on of the reasons for Flanders' good relationship with England.

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City Travel Guide comes with Gent real estate guide with several tips on home valuation, realtors comparison, secrets on finding the "right" home, loans guide and other helpful real estate advices. Our partners also maintain Gent property for sale and rental listings, real estate laws and reviews. We will try to help you with buying property in Belgium, choosing real estate agents, property finders, relocation help, and information for English speakers wanting to buy real estate in Gent.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ghent, Belgium".

This city is also known as: Gent (Ghent).

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