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The Korenlei harbour in Ghent, Belgium. 
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The Korenlei harbour in Ghent, Belgium.
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Inside the Gothic Saint Nicholas' church in Ghent, Belgium. 
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Inside the Gothic Saint Nicholas' church in Ghent, Belgium.

"St. Nicholas' Church (Dutch: Sint-Niklaaskerk) 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." (Text from Wikipedia).

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St. Nicholas' church in Ghent
Inside the St. Bavo's Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedraal) in Ghent, Belgium. 
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Inside the St. Bavo's Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedraal) in Ghent, Belgium.

"The building is based upon the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, a primarily wooden construction; it was consecrated in 942 by Transmarus, Bishop of Tournai and Noyon. Traces of this original structure are evident in the cathedral's crypt. The chapel was subsequently expanded in the Romanesque style in 1038. Some traces of this phase of expansion are still evident in the present day crypt.

In the subsequent period from the 14th through 16th centuries, nearly continuous expansion projects in the Gothic style were executed on the structure. A new choir, radiating chapels, expansions of the transepts, a Chapterhouse, nave aisles and a single tower western section were all added during this period. Construction was considered complete June 7, 1569.

In 1539, as a result of the rebellion against Charles V, the old Abbey of St. Bavo was dissolved. Its abbot and monks went on to become canons in a Chapter that was attached to what then became the Church of Saint Bavo. When the Diocese of Ghent was founded in 1559, the church became its Cathedral. The church of Saint Bavo was also the site of the baptism of Charles V.

The cathedral is noted for the Ghent Altarpiece, originally in its Joost Vijd chapel. It is formally known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. This work is considered Van Eyck's masterpiece and one of the most important works of the early Northern Renaissance, as well as one of the greatest artistic masterpieces of Belgium." (Text from Wikipedia).

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A ticket for "The Adoration of the Mystical Lamb"
On the gallery of the city belfry in Ghent, Belgium. 
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On the gallery of the city belfry in Ghent, Belgium.

"The 91-metre-high belfry of Ghent is one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city centre of Ghent, Belgium, the other two belonging to Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church. Through the centuries, it has served not only as a bell tower to announce the time and various warnings, but also as a fortified watchtower and town treasury.

Construction of the tower began in 1313 to the design of master mason Jan van Haelst, whose plans are still preserved in a museum. After continuing intermittently through wars, plagues and political turmoil, the work reached completion in 1380. It was near the end of this period that the gilded dragon, brought from Bruges, assumed its place atop the tower. The uppermost parts of the building have been rebuilt several times, in part to accommodate the growing number of bells.

The primary bell in the tower, Roland, was the one used by citizens to warn of an enemy approaching or a battle won. "Roland has become almost a person to the people of Belgium. He is a patriot, a hero, a leader in all rebellion against unrighteous authority." (Text from Wikipedia).

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The carillon inside the Ghent belfryDown from the Ghent belfry
Werregarnstraat in the centre of Ghent, Belgium. 
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Werregarnstraat in the centre of Ghent, Belgium.

"Once used to drain water away from this high ground, today it has a different purpose and nickname: Graffitistraat. Walk down the lane, enjoying the artwork provided by the people of Ghent. This is a typically pragmatic Belgian solution to a social problem: Rather than outlawing graffiti entirely, the police have designated this one street to give would-be artists a legal, controlled outlet for their impulses." (Rick Steves & Gene Openshaw: Rick Steves' Snapshot Bruges and Brussels, Berkeley 2011).
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Graffitistraat, GhentGraffitistraat, Ghent
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Thursday, Nov 2, 2017: On the walls of Palácio da Pena in Sintra, Portugal
Palácio da Pena
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