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Saint Nicholas Church, Ghent

(4.3/5 based on 420+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This church stands almost in the main square, Gothic style, much more impressive externally ... within quite bare, with a beautiful altar, a pulpit and an area dedicated to selling items for charity ... when I was there, was preparing an exhibition on Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Free admission.
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  • No outstanding features but very nice. Currently has and exhibition about Mother Teresa of Calcutta but it is all in Flemish. Pleasant for a break from the bustle outside  more »
  • Did you ever wonder why Saint Nicholas holds his 3 fingers "up"? Go to the Saint Nicholas church and you will see the sculpture as well as some paintings of him with the 3 children who went for a walk...  more »
Google
  • 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.
  • Gothic style, beautiful piece of Ghent history. Worth a visit._
  • This cathedral has some amazing photography opportunities along the outside. We did not venture inside the cathedral itself, but there was an antique market going on inside one of the rooms that was really fun to walk through!
  • Another church in Gent, wow... Really beautiful, but god they are they are all the same
  • Beautiful interior. Worth the quick visit.