The Gravensteen is a castle in Ghent originating from the Middle Ages. It was built in 1180 by count Philip of Alsace and was modeled after the crusaders castles that Philip of Alsace encountered while he participated in the second crusade.
The castle served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders until they abandoned it in the 14th century. The castle was then used as a courthouse, a prison and eventually decayed. At one time it even served as a factory.
In 1885 the city of Ghent bought the castle and started a renovation project. The newly built houses around the castle were removed and the walls and keep were restored to their original condition. The castle houses a museum with various torture devices (and a guillotine) that were historically used in Ghent.
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