Korenmarkt – Former Post Office – St. Nicolas’ Church (Sint-Niklaaskerk) – Mason’s Guild Hall (Gildenhuis van de Metselaars)
Situated in the historical heart of Gent, This was the city’s corn market in medieval times. The corn was unloaded from the barges at the Graslei. Some of the 15th century houses on the square still have a corn loft. The Borluutsteen, a 13th century patrician house is noteworthy. This square, completely renovated in 2010, is now a bustling square with cafés, terraces and restaurants.
On the Korenmarkt you will find the Former Post Office (1898-1909), build of sand-coloured stone, with a majestic clock tower. It is designed by Louis Cloquet in a neo-gothic and neo-Renaissance style. In 2000 it has been transformed into a shopping mall, but unfortunately a very unsuccessfully one as almost all the shops disappeared over the last years. Standing on the Sint-Michael’s bridge (Sint-Michielsbrug) you have a nice view on the old Post Office.
On the East side of the Korenmarkt you can find the St. Nicolas’ Church (Sint-Niklaaskerk) (13th-15th century), one of the cities great churches. Build in plain Scheldt architecture. The church has been restored over the past 50 years and reopened his doors in November 2010. The Baroque high altar with its theme of the last judgement and the chapels of the city’s merchants and guilds are the highlights of the church. An interesting fact is that the tower is not above the entrance, but above the crossing of the nave and transept.
From the Korenmarkt you can walk through the Donkersteeg or “Dark Alley”, famous for his shops (leather Blondeel), and restaurants (Georges seafood) to the aristocratic Goudenleeuwplein or Golden Lion Square (Novotel is situated here). An alternative route along the St. Nicolas Church is the charming street of Klein Turkije (Little Turkey), full of bars and dance cafés.
Opposite St. Nicolas church (Sint-Niklaaskerk) you can find the original Mason’s Guild Hall (Metselaarshuis) (16th century). On top of the stepped gable you can see six modern bronze sculptures of dancers and a modern glass structure. In the building you can find the East Flanders Office of Tourism.