The history of the “ patershol “is closely linked to the Castle of the Counts, built in the 12th century. The fortress lost its military function in 1353 and the then Supreme Court of justice, the Flemish council, took up its residence there .
The stablemen and artisans working for the count in the “ Patershol” like the tanners that used the countless numerous in the neighborhood , soon had to move for the magistrates, lawyers and attorneys that were taking their place. The small wooden houses were torn down and replaced by luxurious brick townhouses.
When the magistrate left the Castle of the Count at the end of the eighteenth century, it was the beginning of a dark period for the area. The industrial revolution took the city in its grasp.
The Castle of Counts changed into a textile factory and hundreds of workers sought accommodation in the nearby quarters.
Enclosed land was built on and this resulted in a strong compression of the city texture. Were constructed and large mansions were subdivided in small housing units or became multiple room houses in order to give shelter to as many people as possible.
The main quarter of Ghent devaluated in no time from a patrician’s quarter to a grey workers neighborhood.
After the departure of the textile factory from the Count’s Castle by the end of the nineteenth century, the Patershol further deteriorated.
Most inhabitants of Ghent avoided the quarter with its bad reputation, and the “ Patershol “became a ghetto for the most deprived. The number of inns, guesthouses and brothels grew so fast that the city council had to take action. The number of inhabitants per house was restricted and higher taxes restrained night life. However, the local government did nothing to stop the decay of the quarter.
Under the influence of the nearby Royal Academy of Arts, the quarter evolved in the sixties to a bubbling melting pot of students and artists , who found shelter in the “ Pandhof”, a remnant of the Carmelites’ cloister.
By the end of the seventies, more and more artists and obstinate inhabitants of Ghent came to the quarter, attracted by the preservation of the medieval character, and in their wake the first restaurant owners followed.
In this way the quarter again evolved to one of the most attractive housing areas of Ghent.
It can't be a coincidence that Ghent, the capital of East Flanders, was given several pretty names:
- Historic heart of Flanders
- A city of all times
- One of the most beautiful historic cities in Europe
The city combines an impressive past with a vivid present. Numerous tourists visit Ghent of which the citizens carry the nickname "Stroppendragers" or noose-bearers and use the extensive service from Hotel Harmony.
The historic heart of the city offers a lot of places of interest. From St Michael's bridge there is a wonderful view on the skyline of Ghent with the three impressive towers of St Nicholas' Church, the Belfry with its bell tower and St Bavo's cathedral with the world famous painting "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Jan van Eyck.
Traces of the Middle Ages were preserved at a lot of places (like patershol).
Not far from the Graslei arises the Castle of the Counts, once the medieval fortress of the Count of Flanders. Nowadays it is a major tourist attraction.
Ghent also has several museums, abbeys, beguinages, dozens of churches and historical buildings.
Not only art lovers but everyone can find something here to suit his taste. Ghent offers a lot of shops, restaurants and an exciting nightlife.
Ghent can be discovered by boat, carriage, bicycle (rental in the hotel) or on foot.
Hotel Harmony is situated in a neighbourhood called "t'Patershol", the oldest neighbourhood of Ghent.