The 5 most curious buildings in Ghent
1) Winter Circus
Many people have never been inside the huge circus hidden behind the shops on Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat. The top of the dome can just be seen from the street corner outside no. 108. The circus was built in 1893 and reconstructed after a fire in 1920. It once staged huge circus shows for audiences of 3400, but the vast circular space now lies empty and abandoned. The city aims to restore the building and reopen it as a tech hub and concert hall in 2022.
2) Masons' Guild House
The Masons’ Guild House was built in a flamboyant Gothic style opposite the Sint- Niklaaskerk to show off the stone carving skills of the city’s masons. It eventually disappeared behind a later building. People thought it had been demolished and so in 1913 a replica was constructed at Graslei 8. The original was later found during building work and six modern dancing figures were added at the top.
3) Venetian Façades
Not many people notice the curious white façade in the Lammerstraat built in Venetian Gothic style. It was constructed in 1851 to provide a single façade for six shops. Nothing has survived at street level, but the upper two floors have retained the strange Venetian windows and Byzantine details.
4) Het Pianohuis
This curious corner house was built in 2007 as a guest house for pianists. The architect designed the oddly shaped windows to suggest the shape of a grand piano.
5) Belgacom Building
The Belgacom building was once voted the ugliest building in Ghent. You may agree with the verdict when you see the grey concrete block built for the national telecom company in the 1970s. It was once threatened with demolition, but the building is now due to be converted into an upmarket hotel and restaurant.
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The 500 Hidden Secrets of Ghent reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Ghent's best-kept secrets.
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