Building History

The imposing building we see now is the result of a labour of love which took centuries to complete.


The imposing building we see now is the result of a labour of love which took centuries to complete.

Our church can be dated back to the chapel of Saint John the Baptist, consecrated by Transmarus bishop of Tournai and Noyon in 942. Traces from a later Romanesque church can still be seen today in the richly decorated crypt of the cathedralyon, in 942. The Romanesque church which followed this one has left some traces in the crypt

Building History

Sint-Baafskathedraal Gent © Lukasweb.be

Art in Flanders, foto's Hugo Maertens, Dominique Provost

Ghent, which in the Middle Ages was one of the most important cities in Western Europe, could easily afford to build newer and grander churches. Our church was more or less being permanently rebuilt from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. By the middle of the 16th century the church had more or less its current exterior aspect.

The aftermath of the rebellion against emperor Charles V in Ghent in 1539 saw the dissolution of the centuries old abbey of Saint Bavo. The abbot and monks became canons in a Chapter that was attached to what now became the church of Saint Bavo.

In 1559 the diocese of Ghent was founded and the church finally became a cathedral. The rich baroque interior of the church shows the influence of one of the longer ruling bishops of Ghent, Antonius Triest.


Restoration of the Tower.

The 7th of May 2013, bishop Luc Van Looy removed one of the stone pentacles, ten meters high, from the tower of the Saint-Bavocathedral. This symbolicly started the restoration works. These activities will take five years with a cost of 6.300.000 euro.
The contractor will put a canvas around the tower, which will show a print of the Mystic Lamb, and references to musea and partners.

Through various restoration premiums the Flamish Government (Vlaamse Overheid, Onroerend erfgoed), the restoration campaign of the Saint-Bavocathedral is partly financed.
www.onroerenderfgoed.be