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“Interesting Cathedral”

Catedral de San Bavon (Sint-Baafskathedraal)
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Day Trip to Ghent from Brussels
Ranked #3 of 175 things to do in Ghent
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Interesting Cathedral”
Reviewed 9 August 2014

Having seen dozens of temples, mosques, shrines, churches and cathedrals (of all denominations) around the world, this one was certainly one of the more interesting, as you could clearly see the remnants of the church that had been there prior to the building of the cathedral. There is a distinct change in architectural design between the two and this is especially noticeable in the crypt.
The main building is predominantly Gothic in style with the internal décor, statues etc. similar in style to many other Catholic churches. That said, it is still very impressive in its own right, with a number of beautiful artworks and an impressive roof construction when viewed internally.

The main artwork was a little disappointing not because of the artwork but because it was difficult to see. The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is currently sited in a small chapel to the left of the main entrance and even with a few people in there it is almost impossible to get to the centre to get a good look at the centre panel of the painting - people will just not move. Also, the paining is held too high off the ground, making it difficult to see the upper parts of the picture. That said, the quality of the artwork is fantastic - well worth a look, although having seen it we found we could examine it better on the internet - see "http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be".

Visited August 2014
Thank Stan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
526 reviews
265 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 288 helpful votes
“Visit Even If You Have Overdosed on Churches”
Reviewed 8 August 2014

I usually visit churches and cathedrals because my wife is interested in the interiors and therefore I am ambivalent as to whether you should spend your holiday time visiting 'another church/cathedral. Do visit St Bavo's Cathedral - it was a soothing experience and you can decide whether you want to pay an entry fee to extend your visit and see Van Eyck's "Mystical Lamb" painting. You can see a copy of the painting if you visit the STAM City of Ghent Museum. There are lots of signs inside the cathedral saying no photos, however on the day we visited we saw many visitors taking photos without any protest from church guides. With free entry this cathedral is certainly worth a visit if you are doing the Ghent City Walk.

Visited August 2014
Thank avidtraveller195
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, NY
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great in itself but that Van Eyck! Astonishing.”
Reviewed 6 August 2014

The church has many highlights as do many churches in Europe (but not all). But it also houses a famous Van Eyck brothers altarpiece that I was not prepared for. Free listening device goes over every panel and you are transfixed for over an hour. Have a beer afterwards and reflect on genius.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank PetJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
323 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“The lamb and a crypt - great viewing”
Reviewed 6 August 2014

Well worth a visit, particularly to see the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb paintings and to see the relics and past bishops' vestments in the crypt.

Visited August 2014
Thank StephenR285
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Nice cathedral but not worth a charge to see the Mystic Lamb”
Reviewed 5 August 2014

The cathedral was nice but I don't think it was worth the charge to see the famous Mystic Lamb painting by van Eyck, in my opinion. This is partly because they have a life-size colour 'photocopy' or if in a chapel which you can see (although they want you to have already paid for a ticked to see the real one before you can see this one but its not enforced) If you are a fierce art lover then it might be worth it for you.

I liked the crypt, which had various church treasures on display, including a huge number of gold and silver chalices etc, priests' vestments and other things. I particularly liked the medieval wall paintings down there! It was free to go into the crypt. Worth a visit.

Visited July 2014
Thank Sophie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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