Belfort Ghent Reviews
Music, independance and probably a great view Aug 01, 2009
When as a child browsing the pages of an old songbook with with children- and folksongs of the low countries I came upon the "Klokke Roeland" song. The first part of it describes the belfry of Ghent.
The song starts with the phrases (in dutch ofcourse):
Boven Gent rijst
Eenzaam en grijs
Oud Belfort, zinnebeeld van het verleden.
The meaning is something like: A lonely grey watchtower, as a portrait of the past
Our hotel was almost around the corner of this tower, and a couple of times a day we could hear the tune of that song. Every 15 minutes the bells strike, but fortunately it was not that loud, just a pleasant tone. There were several melodies during the day.
The belfries of Flanders were built in the later medieval period as an architectural manifestation of emerging civic independance from feudal and religious influences.
Construction of the Ghent Belfort started in 1313 and the work reached completion in 1390. The original design plans of master mason Jan van Haelst are still kept in a museum.
The Ghent belfry served not only as a belltower but also as watchtower.
The primary bell (Roeland) was used to warn the civilians when in case of danger (a violent attack, or a fire or storm).
Nowadays it is open for public, there is an exhibition on bells, and one on dragons (on top of the tower there is a dragon), and ofcourse the main attraction is to climb the stairs for a magnificent view.
We did not go up, because of the fertigo I suffer from :( although the man at the desk told us there was a parapet of abt. 125 cms.
Part of the The result of reading a history novel - Ghent travel blog
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