- Surface: 4.5 acres
- Number of in habitants: 500
- History: originally a military quarter area of the count .Under influence of the Counts castle , built in the 12 th century ,the inhabitants of the Patershol were consecutively artisans, magistrates and textile workers. It is now a nostalgic place with plenty of restaurants and one hotel.
- Main characteristic: one of the oldest quarters of Ghent with typically narrow medieval twisting streets and alleys.
The area was named Patershol after the discalced Carmelites, a mendicant order with its origin on the Mount Carmel in the middle East, who acquired the closely Cambron abbey at the end of the thirteenth century. The complex became the Caermerscloister, where a new infirmary was built between 1658 and 1661 above the Plotersgracht . The new wing blocked the access to the water of this canal for the inhabitants of the quarter . But the friars found a solution to the problem: they constructed a vaulted tunnel to the canal.
Even now one can see in the Trommelstraat the access gate to the dark alley, popularly termed Paeters-hol.
The history of the patershol is closely linked to the Castle of the Counts, built in the 12 th 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 neighbourhood , soon had to move for the magistrates ,lawyers and attorneys were taking there place. The small wooden houses were torn down and replaced by luxurious bricked houses.
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 patricians quarter to a grey workers neighbourhood.
After the departure of the textile factory from the Counts 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.
The delicious smells that meet you in the narrow alleys make your mouth water. The Patershol is rightly known as the culinary heart of Ghent . Restaurants for everyones budget serve the best dishes from all corners of the world.