Ghent (English pronunciation: /ˈɡɛnt/; Dutch: Gent, pronounced [ʝɛnt]; French: Gand, pronounced: [ɡɑ̃]; and formerly Gaunt in English; from the Classic Latin term Candia or Gandia meaning landlock by the confluence of rivers by the union of the Celtic term "Cand" and Latin "ia" land) is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of 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 in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university. Although many of Belgium's visitors overlook Ghent, its beauty is often compared to the more well-known Bruges.
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 240,191 inhabitants in the beginning of 2009, Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality by number of inhabitants. The Belgium" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_areas_in_Belgium">metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,205 km2 (465 sq mi) and has a total population of 594,582 as of 1 January 2008, which ranks it as the fourth most populous in Belgium. The current mayor of Ghent, Daniël Termont, leads a coalition of the sp.a, Open VLD and Pro Gent.
Every year the ten-day-long "Ghent Festival" (Gentse Feesten in Dutch) is held. About two million visitors attend every year.