The Belgian Countess Castle.. A terrifying past pollutes the beauty of the present

Hasan Almajidy
Hasan Almajidy
3 Min Read

“The dazzling of the present does not erase the weight of the past.” This phrase applies to an ancient castle in the Belgian city of Ghent. Its construction dates back 800 years, but it has a brutal past.

Gravensten Castle in Ghent was famous immediately after its construction 8 centuries ago as the “Castle of the Counts”, but it was later associated with unspeakable atrocities.

For centuries, people were tortured in the castle in the name of the law, but that did not prevent it from being a center of tourist attractions at the present time due to the splendor of its architecture.

According to the official website of Gravensten Castle, the first appearance of the castle was in the ninth century, via a fortified wooden building.

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Over the centuries, the castle expanded and was surrounded by stone walls and a moat.

In 1180, Gravensten Castle evolved into its present form, when Count Philip, a scion of the powerful family, expanded it again, after returning from the Crusades.


The castle has a total of 24 towers, and the highest height is 30 meters. Above the central entrance gate, inscriptions still refer to Philip as the founder of the castle.

Gravensteen Castle may have been a symbol of Philip’s power, but he did not make it his permanent home. Only occasionally did he visit the castle on his travels through his county, then settled there with his retinue and became the administrative center of Ghent.

And early in the 14th century, the castle began a horrific new chapter, having become the center of jurisdiction, a prison rife with tortures ranging from floggings to amputations.

The prison cells, some of which were underground, were frightening because they were damp, dry and very cold, especially in winter.

In an 18th-century auction aimed at raising money for state coffers, the castle of torture was sold to an architect who converted it into an industrial complex where employees processed cotton and minerals.

In the early twentieth century, the “Castle of the Counts” was acquired by the city of Ghent and the Belgian government. It was opened to visitors for the first time in 1907, and it has become the number one tourist attraction center in Ghent since 1913 until now.

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Posted by Hasan Almajidy
Hasan Almajidy is an Iraqi Musical Artist, Composer and Music Maker from Baghdad. The founder of Almajidy Production Company is a well-known Iraqi writer in Iraq, one of the first contributors to the development of music production and a digital music distributor.
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