"St. Bavo's Cathedral" Sintbaafskathedraal -St Bavo Cathedral Tip by ealgisi

St Bavo's Cathedral is the oldest parish church in Ghent and the earliest records date it as far back as the 10th century. In 942, a chapel was built inside the new portus near the busy mooring place on the Lower Scheldt. The church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and was rebuilt and enlarged in the 11th century. Nothing remains of this chapel.
The Romanesque church was gradually dismantled and replaced by a Gothic church which was built in three major phases. The chancel was renewed at the beginning of the 14th century. This work manifests clear evidence of influence from the north of France and the Scheldt Gothic. The chancel area and the radiating chapel date from the beginning of the 15th century.

During the second phase between 1462 and 1538, the imposing west tower was erected in Brabant-Gothic style. In 1533, work started on phase three, the building of the nave.
After the canons of the disbanded St. Bavo's Abbey were added to the St. John's Church, it became a collegiate church. When the diocese of Ghent was established in 1561, the collegiate St. Bavo's Church was elevated to a cathedral.

The church has suffered various setbacks. It was not spared the iconoclasts in 1566 or 1578, a stroke of lightning ravaged the service towers and the side towers in 1602, and in 1640 the roof was completely burnt out. The cathedral underwent major renewals and restorations in the centuries which followed.

The cathedral is very impressive with its tripodal space for chancel, transept, choir aisle, and circular chapels. The chancel with a gallery and sizeable windows is built in French High Gothic style. The nave has smaller windows and larger wall surfaces display the features of late Brabant Gothic.

The crypt contains two aisles from the Romanesque church of the 12th century and these still stand out clearly. The present Gothic aisles and the other chapels date from the 14th and 15th centuries. The wall paintings are from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Address: Sint-Baafsplein, 9000 Gent,
Phone: 32 9 225 16 26
Website: http://www.sintbaafskathedraal.be

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 2, 2007
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