"Aalst, not very much to see but a great carnaval." Aalst by tompt
Aalst Travel Guide: 65 reviews and 245 photos
Aalst ia an old city, it was first mentioned in a document in 870. It was not much more than a fort or large villa. In the 11th century the location at the river Dender was more populair and business and agriculture grew, like the population did.
In the middle ages Aalst was a militairy strongholt, a large trade centre and the political centre of the area. It was located along the trade route between Bruges and Koln, Germany. The harbour along the Dender tributed to the status of Aalst too.
In the 18th century the city develloped into the centre of the linen industry.
During the 19th century the social standards in Belgium where poor. Priest Adolf Daens, from Aalst, tried to help the poor workers in the industry by participating in a political party.
In the middle of this century the city of Aalst lost its beauty, when the industry was expanding along the banks of the Dender.
This history leaves only a few historic buildings in the centre of Aalst. And that makes the city not very attractive for the spoiled tourist. It is mainly a industrial area along the still import trade routes from the coast into Germany.
Well, we visited Aalst because of its location, close to the start of a cycletour Tom was going to participate in.
But we managed to stay here from friday to monday without getting bored. Ofcourse the good weather palayed an important part in that ;-)
Aalst is a very good place to walk or ride your bicycle. The city is not too large, and within a short time you are outside the cityboundaries into the green area. South of Aalst there is the citypark and adjacent to that you will find a nature reserve called Ossebroeken. It is nice to have a walk here. the tourist office has brochures of several naturewalks you can enjoy close to Aalst. There a several cyclingroutes around Aalst too.
And after this you can always enjoy a nice belgian beer on one of the terraces of the Grote Markt.
Or just enjoy the few historic buildings and sites in the city. There are some on the Grote Markt: the Belfort, the Amsterdam Exchange ( a restaurant now), the cityhall is not realy special but still.........
A short walk from the Grote Markt you will find the St Martinus church. Do go inside, there are some great artworks here. One of the paintings is by the famous P.P. Rubens. Behind the church there is the old hospital, now the citymuseum. And a bit further you can find the beguinage. In the entire city you will find churches, some nicer than the others. The graveyard is also worth a visit. Every one of these points of interest will be better documented in our tips.
The main attraction of Aalst is carnaval. It is one of the few cities in Belgium where they have a large carnaval tradition. We didn't visit during this time, but if you want to know more about it see the following website: http://www.aalst.be/carnaval , it is in dutch but the movie there could be understood in every language.
South of the city is vast naturepark called Ossebroeken. It is the place for a relaxing walk or a bit of running in the... more travel advice
The interior of the restaurants breaths the atmosphere of a local italian restaurant. The food is very good. Large... more travel advice
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