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GRAVENSTEEN

You can find this impressive castle in the city of Gent. The Gravensteen as we know it now is the work of Filip van den Elzas, who was Count of Flanders from 1157 until 1191. On this location were already three other castles built before Filip started his building campaign to impress the inhabitants of Gent and to keep them between the lines. But the city became bigger and bigger and the castle lost itís military purpose so the castle was furnished as residence for the Counts. These Counts left the building in 1353 and went to a more luxurious housing. From then on the castle got all kind of functions. It was also a prison for a while. The castle became private property in the 19th century and was turned into a textile factory. The city bought the castle back in 1887 and started to restore the castle. Today the castle is a tourist magnet and the historical halls are often used as a backdrop for concerts and theatrical plays.
(The areal view pic is scanned from a postcard.)

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