The cathedral was once no more than a small parish church. But nothing remains of the original chapel consecrated in 942. The oldest parts of the cathedral are two Romanesque aisles in the crypt. They date from 1150. When, in 1540, Charles V had the nearby Abbey of St Bavo demolished to build the Spaniards Castle, both the monks and their relics (including a bone from St Bavos upper arm) took shelter here in this church. When the diocese of Ghent was established in 1561 the church automatically became a cathedral (cathedra means the bishops seat). Inside the cathedral you will find dozens of art treasures to captivate you. In addition to such delights as the overpowering 1745 rococo pulpit and a superb Rubens, this cathedral is privileged to be the home of the most important work in the history of Flemish art: The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers.
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