Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium

Saint Bavo Cathedral dates back to 942 when it was known as Saint John the Baptist Church, built in the Romanesque style and of which some traces can still be found. However, since Ghent was one of the richest cities in Europe in the Middle Ages, from the 14th to 16th centuries the church was more or less permanently being rebuilt. The features that can be seen today are mainly from the mid-16th century. In 1559 the diocese of Ghent was created and the church became a cathedral.
The highlight of the cathedral is the polyptych "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" from the 15th century, by famous Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck. During your visit to the cathedral, you'll have access to an audio guide that will explain you everything about the painting. For instance, in the mid-1930s, two of the panels were stolen and a 1 million Belgium francs ransom was asked for one, the other being returned as proof of possession. The ransom was going to be paid but before the thief could return the second panel, he had a heart attack. Before he died he confessed to the theft but was unable to indicate the location of the second panel, so the searching goes on to this day and the panel of the "Just Judges" is a copy from the 1930s.

Opening hours: 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (5 p.m. Nov. to Mar.); "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" can be seen from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (10.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. to Mar.), closed from 12 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Entrance fee: Cathedral-free; "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb " €4, including the audio guide.

Back to Ghent

From Saint Bavo's website


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