St Nicholas' Church

Ghent, Belgium

St. Nicholas' Church is one of the oldest and most prominent landmarks in Ghent. Begun in the early 13th century as a replacement for an earlier Romanesque church, construction continued through the rest of the century in the local Scheldt Gothic style (named after the nearby river). Typical of this style is the use of blue-gray stone from the Tournai area, the single large tower above the crossing, and the slender turrets at the building's corners.

Built in the old trade center of Ghent next to the bustling Korenmarkt (Wheat Market), St. Nicholas' Church was popular with the guilds whose members carried out their business nearby. The guilds had their own chapels which were added to the sides of the church in the 14th and 15th centuries.

The central tower, which was funded in part by the city, served as an observation post and carried the town bells until the neighboring belfry of Ghent was built. These two towers, along with the Saint Bavo Cathedral, still define the famous medieval skyline of the city center. One of the treasures of the church is its organ, produced by the famous French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

The building gradually deteriorated through the centuries, to a degree that threatened its stability. Cracks were overlaid with plaster, windows were bricked up to reinforce the walls, and in the 18th century, little houses and shops were built up against the dilapidated facades. Interest in the church as a historical monument arose around 1840, and at the turn of the 20th century major restoration plans emerged. The houses alongside the church were demolished and much renovation work has been carried out since then.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Igosus (11 months ago)
Sint-Niklaaskerk is one of Ghent's oldest Catholic churches dedicated to St Nicholas of Myra. It was built in the 13th century. It was built in the Gothic style from blue suprascald stone. It has a 76-metre-high tower at the intersection of the naves. The church reflects the history and culture of Ghent. The church contains works of art and a historic organ from the 19th century.
Suneela Isaac (12 months ago)
Saint Nicholas Church is yet another beautiful work of art in Ghent. The entry is free and the church is open until 4pm. Please note that the tower is not above the entrance, it is said that the tower used to serve as some sort of a natural lantern when light shines through the tower.
Komeil Karimi (12 months ago)
View of Saint Nicholas' Church "Sint Niklaaskerk" and Ghent city skyline seen from the Belfort tower, Ghent Belgium Another one of those places that win whether you go inside or don't. Great inside but don't miss the outside architecture from up top of other buildings surrounding it, especially from top of Belfort tower. It's worth spending some time throughout the day for different lights and cloud conditions. Sheltered from the rain photos of Sint Niklaaskerk come out great under clouds
Tanmay Singh (15 months ago)
The architecture is really beautiful. I couldn't get a chance to get inside ,however, the surrounding area is amazing to roam around.
Gökalp Aksekili (2 years ago)
A 13th century Scheldt-Gothic church. Architectural style Scheldt-Gothic actually originated from the Scheldt river and shows specific features such as a long tower and the use of blue-green stone blocks collected from the river. It’s been demolished and renovated over the years. The church is known to be one of the most common spots for merchants and marketers in the history. Completely free to visit and I would definitely recommend.
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