The birthplace of our beer, the city of Ghent, is one of Belgium’s most historic and picturesque cities. Ghent is home to around 250,000 people, and is the 4th biggest city in Belgium. Are you planning a trip to Ghent? Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect from this beautiful Belgian city. The Sint Stefanus Monastery In 1295, monks first began brewing St. Stefanus within the walls of the Sint Stefanus monastery. Situated in the north of the city, the monastery lies on the banks of one of the city’s many canals. The Sint Stefanus Monastery in Ghent You can visit the birthplace of our beer and take a tour of the monastery, including a visit to the library that houses over 3000 monastic scripts, some dating back to the 15th Century. Eating and drinking Ghent has always been a city of beer. By 1494 there were around 100 breweries operating in the city and by 1645 this number had grown to 550. However, this could not last and by the turn of the 20th Century there were just 99 breweries left within the city limits. Eventually, by the 1970s, the last brewery had closed its doors. While one new microbrewery opened its doors recently, our Van Steenberge Brewery, remains the city's closest original brewery located just 20 minutes outside of Ghent. Ghent has many restaurants, cafés and bars where customers can sit outside in the street and soak up the atmosphere of the city. There are a number of excellent restaurants, delicatessens and cafés offering fine local cuisine from top Belgian chefs. Three Ghent specialities are mastel, cinnamon flavoured bread similar to a roll, waterzooi, a stew made with either fish or chicken, and stoverij, a beef stew. Eating and drinking in Ghent Ghent is a university town, home to around a huge 65,000 students, making the city a bustling, exciting place. The city is also home to the Ghent Festival, an annual 10 day event that draws around two million people to the city to enjoy the beer, food, live music and shows that make the city one of Belgium’s best visitor attractions. The harbour The Graslei harbour is one of the most scenic parts of the old city centre. Lined by medieval style buildings with their geometric bricked fronts, the River Leie is one of many canals and waterways that intersect the city, and certainly an unmissable attraction for anyone planning a trip to Ghent. The Graslei harbour Visitors and locals alike can enjoy a boat trip down the canal and admire the architecture and ambience of the city from one of the best views in the house. The city streets Traditional medieval architecture dominates the landscape of the city, with stone and brick buildings and cobbled streets. Here we see an example of the traditional medieval stone fronts to buildings that line the cityscape. Medieval architecture in Ghent St. Nicholas Church This abbey is one of no less than five in Ghent. Situated in the centre of the city, St. Nicholas Church is one of the main attractions for visitors. Construction began in the 13th Century, and it has been extensively renovated over the years to preserve its character. St. Nicholas Church in Ghent Just behind the abbey sits the belfry, with the Gulden Draak (Golden Dragon) sitting atop the tower. The dragon was placed at the top of the belfry to protect the communal charters stored there, and now stands as a symbol of the freedom and might of the city. Have you got any pictures of Ghent to share? Post them to our Facebook wall or tweet us one of your snaps… it might just be featured as our fan photo of the fortnight! Are you interested in visiting the Augustinian abbey where our beer originated? Call +32-92642980 for more information.