The view along the Graslei and Korenlei in Ghent, Belgium, is largely regarded to be the prettiest spot in the city. Ghent may be tiny in size, but it packs a tourism wallop. In 2008, National Geographic Traveler Magazine rated it the third most authentic destination in the world. That may, in part, be due to the independent nature of Gentenaars, as the city’s residents are called. But it can also be attributed to the fact that the city suffered very little bomb damage during either World War.
As a result, many historic buildings, including those along the Graslei and Korenlei in Ghent, have survived. Graslei quay is located on the right bank of the Leie river, while the quay opposite of the Graslei (not shown in the photo) is called Korenlei. The site dates back to the fifth century, when Ghent was the center of wheat trade in Flanders. Most of the current houses date back to medieval times, although their facades have been modified and restored over the centuries. In the middle ages, this was a work neighborhood. Ships arrived around the clock to load and offload goods. Today, the two lanes along the banks of the Leie river are home to scores of outdoor cafes where people come to relax and watch pleasure boats drift by.