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Architecture in Belgium

Castles: The Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts of Flanders), Ghent
9th-14th centuries, largely 1180-1200. Restored.


The Castle of the Counts in Ghent is one of the most impressive remaining examples of defensive architecture. Built to defend against Viking attacks in the ninth century, it was significantly expanded c. 1180-1200, with additions in the fourteenth century. A massive wall and gate encircle the castle keep. The enclosed area of the castle fortifications is one acre, contained within an oval wall of about 200 by 150 feet. It contains residences for the count, his servants and guards, as well as dungeons. The central three story "donjon" is the oldest of its kind in western Europe.66 The rooms measure 33' by 90', and it has 7' thick walls. Improvements in catapults in about 1200 necessitated higher walls for the exterior defensive ring. The castle was restored 1894-1914.

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Boston College
Jeffery Howe, 1997