Sunday, October 11, 2009


A quick snapshot I thought I'd just share. Mind you, I didn't take it. I'm not that good a photographer. The fella who did is a certain Philippe Coppen and I found it on this site. It's a photo in Ghent's centre of two famous "leien", or "quaysides" on either side of the river Lieve, namely the Graslei (to the left) and the Korenlei (to the right, but actually not visible). Indeed, Ghent's centre was a port in medieval times. "Gras" means, you get it, "grass", and that quayside was used to unload herbs. "Koren" is wheat, and on that side barges arrived with wheat. Those days are long gone now, but Ghent is still a port of significance - just north of the city is a huge seagoing harbor, the Port of Ghent, where last years transhipment of cargo amounted to 47 million tonnes.

Notice the church to the right: that is Saint Michael's Church. It is a small church in late gothic style, which for financial reasons was never finished as intended, and which troughout its history was repeatedly looted and damaged. Even so, it is one of Ghent's quintessential churches, and its neogothic interior contains also rococo, neoclassic and baroque artworks, a.o. a genuine Anthony Van Dyck, Christ dying on the Cross. Twenty-five years ago I studied in Ghent, and the opening mass at the beginning of the academic year in early October 1985 took place in this very place:

Nite all, except you-know-who.


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