This magnificent row of guild houses in the original port area is best seen from across the river Leie on the Korenlei (Corn Quay). The guild house of the Metselaars (Masons) is a copy of a house from 1527; the original, which stands near the Sint-Niklaaskerk, has also been restored. The Eerste Korenmetershuis (the first Grain Measurers' House), representing the grain weigher's guild, is next. It stands next to the oldest house of the group, the brooding,
Romanesque Koornstapelhuis (Granary), which was built in the 12th century and served its original purpose for 600 years; this was where the grain claimed by the tax collectors was stored. It stands side by side with the narrow Renaissance Tolhuis (Toll House), where taxes were levied on grain shipments. No. 11 is the Tweede Korenmetershuis (Grain Measurers' House), a late Baroque building from 1698. The Vrije Schippers (Free Bargemen), at No. 14, is a late Gothic building from 1531, when the guild dominated inland shipping. Almost opposite this, across the water at No. 7 Korenlei, is the Huis der Onvrije Schippers (Unfree Bargemen), built in 1740 and decorated with a gilded boat. The free bargemen had right of passage along the canals inside the city; the unfree had to unload their cargoes outside the city, and transfer them to the boats of the guild of free bargemen. Every night the Graslei and the other historic monuments are illuminated from sunset to midnight.
Graslei, Gent, B9000, Belgium