Ghent (Gent in Dutch, Gand in French, once Gaunt in English) is a municipality located in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium, and in the Flemish province of East Flanders, of which it is the capital. The city centre lies at the confluence of rivers Scheldt and Lys. It is situated at the crossing of the European routes E17 and E40.
The municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the towns of Afsnee, Desteldonk, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Mendonk, Oostakker, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel, Wondelgem and Zwijnaarde. On January 1st, 2001 Ghent had a total population of 225.956. The total area is 157.69 Kms which gives a population density of 1421.65 inhabitants per Kms. In terms of population it is Belgium's fourth largest municipalit
The city centre alone is a showcase of medieval Flemish wealth and commercial success. Nearby Bruges may be cuter, but Ghent is more of a real city, and has better museums, better nightlife, restaurants and is not that touristy.
Modern Ghent certainly cannot be overlooked either. The city has an important port, thanks to the canal Ghent-Terneuzen which allows sea-going vessels to bring their products to the city and its industrial hinterland. The tourist will not have eyes enough to admire the awesome architectural wealth, which offers a splendid combination of impressiveness and idyllic charm of the proud and often rebellious city of Ghent. The major attractions are the Counts' Castle, the Belfry and Saint Bavon's Cathedral, not to forget the splendid Graslei.
Also renowned are the Ghent Festivities, the biggest street theater festival in Europe. Each year around the end of July, street artists from all over the world come to Ghent giving street performance at every possible hour at the festival, lasting 10 days.