Results 1-10of 10 Reviews
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
May 13, 2013
December 1, 2007
From journal Gems in Ghent
Carshalton, United Kingdom
March 28, 2007
From journal Glorious Ghent
April 9, 2004
There are subtly lit spaces reconstructed to look like the banqueting halls, reception rooms and living quarters of the Count’s House. The Historical Court and Weapon Museum includes a guillotine and execution swords amongst its collections. Displays of medieval weapons, armor, and other accessories are keenly lapped up by the youngsters. The Instruments of Torture Museum features displays of archaic and unspeakably horrible torture instruments and methods (thumbscrews anyone?). Look for the crypt and the hole to the dungeons below. Expect lots of tour groups at the castle, especially student groups.
The layout of the reconstructed castle is elliptical in plan, with 24 defensive towers surrounding the central gatehouse or Meestentoren. Climb up to take a walk around the perimeter of the castle ramparts and turrets, and also to the roof of the keep. Those not afraid of heights will be rewarded with splendid panoramic views of Ghent.
The Gravensteen is at the junction of the Leie and the Lieve, so there are some interesting vantage points from the outside. The old Vismarkt (Fish Market of 1689), based on a design by Artus Quellin, is across from the castle. The Baroque portico features sculptures by local sculptor Karel de Kezel representing Neptune, and also the Rivers Scheldt and Leie (Lys).
From journal Bill in Belgium - GHENT
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
October 26, 2003
The first stone castle on the site arose 1000 years ago. Its chimney and the fireplace still exit in the walls of the lower floors of the main tower. Archaeological excavations proved the existence of three earlier fortified castles built in wood. Today’s castle was never seriously intended to be battle proof. Its walls are too thin for that. Nevertheless it makes a statement about might and power. Its walls surrounded by a moat incorporate crenellated cylindrical towers and a vast brooding keep. The main keep or 'donjon' (tower) with its panoramic view over the city symbolized power.
Fillips of Alsasse built the present Gravensteen. He was count of Flanders between 1157 and 1191. The opening in the shape of a cross, above the main entrance gate, proves that he had taken part in a crusade. He took part in one too many, dying during the siege of Akko in the Holy Land. After the counts moved to more comfortable mansions in the later centuries, the castle served as the Mint and later as the main prison of Gent. In the nineteenth century cotton plant hummed within its walls. In the inner court little houses where built for the textile workers of the plant.
Today, beautifully restored the Gravensteen is still partially surrounded by the medieval moat. Open all the year-round, inside is a museum about the history of prison life and organization, with an instructive collection of medieval torture instruments. Among the displays are suits of armour, guns, swords and daggers. A realistic display shows a man stretched on the rack. He has a funnel in his mouth to force him to drink copious quantities of water. Presumably it increased the pain or increased the stretching process. Schoolchildren often roar with laughter when they see it. Other grisly objects include ankle irons and a collar with sharp spikes that inflicted wounds if the person moved.
One instrument that I almost approve of is the guillotine. An import from France it tidied up the messy business of chopping of heads. If necessary, the least satisfactory way must be with the uncertain aim of an axe man. Beheading Mary Queen of Scots by order of Elizabeth I of England took two blows. The first blow went into the back of her head.
Next to the Gravensteen lies the Veerleplein (a market square). On non-market days public executions took place there. Anything for a bit of entertainment!
From journal Ghent – showcase of Flemish Wealth & Architecture
March 22, 2001
From journal A day with a monk in Ghent
Essex Junction, Vermont
November 11, 2000
From journal Day Trip to Ghent
Green Bay, Wisconsin
October 11, 2000
From journal Stop over in Ghent
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
September 20, 2000
From journal Enjoying Ghent