The Patershol in Ghent is an old quarter of narrow alleys and brick houses. Located near the Gravensteen castle, it was originally settled in the 10th century by leather workers. But it had become a notorious slum by the 20th century, a labyrinth of dark lanes populated by criminal gangs and prostitutes.
The city began a major project in the 1980s to restore the dilapidated houses. It is now an attractive quarter with romantic restaurants, hidden cocktail bars and art galleries.
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.