One of the most interesting institutions of Ghent is the great Beguinage (Begynhof) which, originally established in 1234 by the Bruges gate, was transferred in 1874 to the suburb of St Amandsberg.
Near the station is a second Beguinage with 400 inmates.
The beguinage of St Elizabeth at Ghent has some thousand sisters, and occupies quite a distinct quarter of the city, being surrounded by a wall and moat.
The earliest Flemish Beghard communities were associations mainly of artisans who earned ' In the year 1287 the council of Liege decreed that "all Beguinae desiring to enjoy the Beguine privileges shall enter a Beguinage, and we order that all who remain outside the Beguinage shall wear a dress to distinguish them from the Beguinae."
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