- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- French Phrases
This 300-foot belfry tower symbolizes the power of the guilds and was constructed in 1314 to serve as Gent's watchtower. Since 1377, the structure has been crowned with a gilded copper weather vane shaped into a dragon, the city's symbol of freedom. (The current stone spire was added in 1913.) Inside the Belfort, documents listing the privileges of the city (known as its secreets) were once kept behind triple-locked doors and guarded by lookouts, who toured the battlements hourly to prove they weren't sleeping. When danger approached, bells were rung—until Charles V had them removed. Now a 53-bell carillon, claimed by experts to be one of the best in the world, is set on the top floor. One of the original bells, the Triumphanta, cast in 1660 and badly cracked in 1914, rests in a garden at the foot of the tower. The largest original bell, Klokke Roeland, is still sung about in Gent's anthem of the same name. The view from the tower is one of the city's highlights. The steep-roofed wood and glass pavilion below that was added to Emile Braun Plein in 2012 is intended to reflect the roofs of the Stadhuis, but has sharply divided local opinion. Note that you need a guide to visit the carillon; guides are available afternoons between May and September.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Though my entire stay in Belgium's pretty capital was 2.5 days in total, most of my time was spent cheering on our son's varsity basketball team in the tournament at ISB, but I was able to sneak some peeks Read more
We saw London, we saw France and lots more.
Day 1 (9/18) Amsterdam
Well I have put off this trip report long enough so here goes. I am writing this to pay forward the help and advice which I received from Read more
I'm considering a quick trip (5 full days) to Amsterdam and maybe Belgium in early May. Read more
· News & Features
For a lover of brews, there's no place quite like New Zealand. ... Read more
Phu Quoc, a fishing island in the Gulf of Thailand, is a quiet refuge of serene beaches, phenomenal seafood,... Read more
Travel is as much about the journey as the destination.... Read more