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Saint Nicholas Church, Ghent

(460+ reviews on the web)
Religious Site Historic Site
St. Nicholas' Church is one of the oldest and most prominent landmarks in Ghent, Belgium. Begun in the early 13th century as a replacement for an earlier Romanesque church, construction continued through the rest of the century in the local Scheldt Gothic style (named after the nearby river). Typical of this style is the use of blue-gray stone from the Tournai area, the single large tower above the crossing, and the slender turrets at the building's corners.Built in the old trade center of Ghent next to the bustling Korenmarkt (Wheat Market), St. Nicholas' Church was popular with the guilds whose members carried out their business nearby. The guilds had their own chapels which were added to the sides of the church in the 14th and 15th centuries.The central tower, which was funded in part by the city, served as an observation post and carried the town bells until the neighboring belfry of Ghent was built. These two towers, along with the Saint Bavo Cathedral, still define the famous medieval skyline of the city center. One of the treasures of the church is its organ, produced by the famous French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.RestorationThe building gradually deteriorated through the centuries, to a degree that threatened its stability. Cracks were overlaid with plaster, windows were bricked up to reinforce the walls, and in the 18th century, little houses and shops were built up against the dilapidated facades. Interest in the church as a historical monument arose around 1840, and at the turn of the 20th century major restoration plans emerged. The houses alongside the church were demolished and much renovation work has been carried out since then.
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42 days in Europe BY A USER FROM INDIA July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Antwerp, Ghent & Bruges BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS June, teens, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Ghent & Groningen Province BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in Belgium, United Kingdom & Paris BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 30 days in Europe BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 20 days in Belgium BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA August, culture, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Belgium, The Netherlands & Luxembourg City BY A USER FROM INDIA July, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Bruges & Ghent BY A USER FROM BELGIUM July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Belgium & Luxembourg City BY A USER FROM BRAZIL September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in The Netherlands, Belgium & France BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Ghent & Brussels BY A USER FROM THAILAND October, culture, relaxing, historic sites, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 7 days in Ghent, Antwerp & Brussels BY A USER FROM THAILAND October, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It's got the size and general grandeur befitting a once-powerful city but the notable things about this church are the exposed brick, which I haven't seen much of in Europe, and the incredibly fancy p...  more »
  • The Church of St Nicholas was built using both blue limestone and yellow sandstone. The blue limestone is the oldest part of the church and this material was expensive. It was built when Ghent had ric...  more »
  • This is a lovely place to wander into and spend some quiet time. It celebrates the miraculous rescue by St Nicholas of three boys, who were being pickled after their death.  more »
Google
  • Awesome architecture. A must to visit when in Ghent. You will not miss it!
  • Just down the road from the cathedral, not as big but still impressive.
  • In this cathedral you can find not only a fantastic architecture and the possibility to take nice pictures inside but it's also a great opportunity to listen to a magnificent organ used to play medieval music. It's amazing! If you come inside by the entrance on Market square (Korenmarkt) you will find an antiques market inside a part of the building not used as church anymore.
  • Visiting sunday mass in this beautiful Cathedral was a great idea. Gregorian choral gave it impressive atmosphere.
  • The Sain Nicholas Church is a beautiful old style church and you have to see it from the inside as well.