Ghent (/ˈɡɛnt/; Dutch: Gent [ɣɛnt]; French: Gand [ɡɑ̃]) is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province and after Antwerp the largest municipality of Belgium. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a port and university city. Ghent is Belgium’s second largest municipality by number of inhabitants. Much of the city’s medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. Its centre is the largest carfree area in Belgium. Interesting highlights are the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece, the belfry, the Gravensteen castle, and the splendid architecture along the old Graslei harbour. Ghent established a nice blend between comfort of living and history. The beguinages, as well as the belfry and adjacent cloth hall, were recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1998 and 1999.
Bruges (/ˈbruːʒ/; Dutch: Brugge [ˈbrɵɣə]; French: Bruges [bʁyːʒ]) is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country.
The city has canals and coast. The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam and Stockholm, it is sometimes referred to as The Venice of the North. Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port and was once the chief commercial city in the world. Bruges is well known as the seat of the College of Europe, an elite university institute for European studies regarded as “the EU’s very own Oxbridge.”
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