Ghent is a city and a municipality located in Flanders, Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and became in the Middle Ages one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university. The city is connected to the sea by the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, it lies at the intersection of the European highways E17 and E40 and it has the third busiest railway station in Belgium.
The municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the towns of Afsnee, Desteldonk, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Mendonk, Oostakker, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel, Wondelgem and Zwijnaarde. With 233,120 inhabitants in the beginning of 2006, Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality and the country's third largest conurbation. The current mayor of Ghent, Daniël Termont, leads a coalition of the SP.a and VLD.
Every year a ten day long street festival is held called the Ghent Fests ('Gentse Feesten' in Dutch). In 2007 it saw 1.5 million people flock to its streets.