Destination: Ghent
Top Ten
1 The Ghent Altarpiece
2 Gravensteen
3 Kerkhof Campo Santo
4 Kuip van Gent
5 Patershol
6 Prinsenhof
7 St Baafskathedraal
8 St Elisabethbegijnhof
9 Stedelijk Museum voor Aktuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.)
10 Vrijdagmarkt
5 Patershol

In the past the Patershol was not a pleasant place to visit. Nowadays you can have a splendid meal in one of the many restaurants.

Surrounded by Lange Steenstraat, Geldmunt, Kraanlei and Sluizieken the Patershol is virtually an island in the city. It is a small maze of narrow 12th-century streets, scarcely wide enough for a car, where the cobblestones shine after the rain. Over the years these streets have been occupied by all levels of society: tanners, rich city magistrates, artists and priests. The gloomy, unlit alleyways inspired the Ghent author Jean Ray to write horror stories which were later made into films. Artists such as Frans Masereel and Georges Minne came here to drink beer. Hundreds of workers' families were packed into the district at the beginning of the 20th century with cholera and other epidemics occurring as a result. Sailors came ashore here and looked for the amusement that they had missed while at sea. The Patershol was, for a long time, the haunt of prostitutes and pimps, hooligans and idlers. They had taken over four hectares of the city and made it into a no-go area for the police. Mie Nekkenbijter ('neck-biter') was a lady of easy virtue who speaks most strongly to the imagination. She gave her clients a love bite on the neck as a trade mark sign to their spouses.

Nowadays the Patershol is safer and cleaner than it once was. The estate agents have understood the unique character of the area, renovating the small houses to provide expensive, but attractive dwellings. Many restaurants have opened in this culinary district, known beyond the frontiers of the country, where you can sample everything, from prawns to a typical Flemish casserole.

Address: Easiest access along Kraanlei
Restaurant: First class restaurants (Expensive)
Bus: Tram 40, 42; bus 55, 57, 58, 69
Accessible: Few

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