Travel: Finding a medieval Manhattan in Flanders
Isabel Conway is enchanted by Ghent, the art-steeped Belgian city that Victor Hugo called ‘the Venice of the north’
Evening shadows dance on the cobbled alleyways, lofty church spires, grand guild houses and baroque bridges. It’s as if we’re on a medieval movie set, peeking through the handblown glass windows of an imposing mansion at portraits of doughty merchants and bejewelled ladies, illuminated by a hanging candelabra.
We pause in front of the Castle of the Counts, the only remaining medieval fortress in Flanders, whose defence system is still virtually intact. Its history dates ...