Ghent at Night: City of Lights and Shadows

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

As promised, I'll have the first of several posts about my time in Bruges, Belgium up for you today, but first - I forgot I had one post left about Ghent! Like most places I travel to, I fell in love with Ghent. Its medieval charm is borderline overwhelming, and it's picturesque to the max - you could literally walk around for days just staring in awe and snapping away on your camera (much like what I did during my stay there).
I assure you, I can't be the only one. Either way, if you haven't already, check out my last three posts on Ghent:


Once again, this will be my final post on Ghent, next I'll be moving on to the Belgian city of Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges). In case you missed it, check out 37 Days in Europe, where I introduce my intentions to post about the fourteen cities I visited. Granted, I've been really slow about completing that goal, but I do have a ton of photos to share for each city and putting them all in one post per city is impossible. In addition to Ghent, I've also covered Amsterdam, you'll find the links to those posts below:



It's pretty appropriate that this is my last post on Ghent, particularly because it's all about the city at night. Before I say goodnight to this post subject, at least at this point in time (until we meet again Ghent!), you MUST see what this city looks like when the sun sets... If you thought Ghent was gorgeous during the day, it's a whole new world after sundown. Each building is highlighted by spotlights built into the street in front of it, thus casting a spectacular glow up the facade of the building that highlights all of the intricate architectural details and forming dramatic shadows. In fact, that's the best word to describe Ghent at night: dramatic. And, if you remember what a I talked about in my first post on this city - the day we arrived it was raining and dreary and this place was an eerie ghost town, devoid of human life - then you'll be blown away by the stark contrast of this night in particular, I certainly was!  It seems as though every person in Ghent came out on this beautiful night to sit by Graslei Harbor in groups and chat/laugh/drink/smoke the night away under the vibrant full moon.  No special event, just people enjoying a public space.  Then again, wouldn't you if you lived in such a marvelous city?  This is one night I will never forget, it took my breath away!  Behold, Ghent at night along Old Graslei Harbor...

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

That glowing clock tower in the background is the Belfry of Ghent, one of three medieval towers overlooking the city.  Hearing its chime, every hour on the hour, was a rare delight (with a sight!).
Sometimes, when I look back through all these photos, I am amazed at how surreal everything looks, almost as though they were edited in Photoshop. Well, I can promise you that these photos are not edited in any way, they're straight from my 24MP Nikon, and I can also promise you that Ghent is a million times more surreal in person - it's one of my favorite European cities.

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Just look at this place!  Old Graslei Harbor has got to be one of the best places on earth... 

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

In the next couple images you will see what I mean about the accent lights, they are built into the streets and come on at night to case dramatic shadows up each building.  It makes a big impact on the ambiance of this area...

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

After stepping out of our hotel (the building above with the red signage - a Marriott) and marveling at the scene before us, we took a stroll up to the bridge to get another view...

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

We stood on the bridge hypnotized, the occasional boat would pass through and the happy hum of all the locals as they enjoyed the night along the water drifted up to our ears...

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Below is Saint Bavo's Cathedral (foreground) and Saint Nicholas' Church (background), some of the oldest and most prominent landmarks in Ghent:

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Saint Bavo's Cathedral is also home to a famous piece of art, the Ghent Altarpiece, formerly known as Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, commissioned by Hubert van Eyck and finished by his brother Jan van Eyck following his death in 1426.  Unfortunately, we heard this art was not open to tourists following a theft of one of the panels and subsequent restoration process.  Wop wop :(

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

And this Gothic beast is Saint Michael's Church (Dutch: Sint-Michielskerk).  This church is also home to another famous piece of art, Christ Dying on the Cross by Anthony van Dyck.

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Like most cities in Europe, there are special architectural details everywhere you look:

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture    Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

And the full moon was keeping us company the entire time, I'm telling you, the night was downright spiritual...

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Those lights in the image above are coming from my brother, who spent the entire trip spinning his Poi pod lights as we walked through every city. He put on performances for strangers, and he provided great entertainment in every famous historical spot we visited. It made for a truly unique and unforgettable trip, among other things...

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

There were friends and lovers talking, laughing, and kissing the night away under the vibrant full moon...  It was profound!

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

Picture perfect:

Ghent, Belgium, city, Europe, travel, medieval, architecture

(All images in this post are the original photography of Inspire Bohemia and are protected under copyright, please do not copy or reuse without written permission.)

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