While Gravensteen looks like a fairy tale, it hides a much darker history than you’d expect behind its medieval walls.
This Gothic 12th century castle is famed for its impressive appearance and is often listed as a must-visit when you’re in Ghent. But how much do you know about it?
Once upon a time, Gravensteen was home to the Count of Flanders and served as a symbol of their power in medieval Ghent. The Counts abandoned the Gravensteen in the 1300s. Then, this castle became a courthouse and prison. After the gavel swung and someone was found guilty, they were dragged below the castle to the prison. Many were even tortured. Eventually, this all stopped but Gravensteen gained a reputation as a dark symbol of the city. People wanted to knock it down!
But, historians argued that Gravensteen should stay. Thanks to the efforts of preservation groups and history enthusiasts, you can visit this well-preserved medieval castle. With the audio guide, you’ll spend about 1 ½ hours exploring Gravensteen.
Open everyday, 10:00 to 18:00 (last tickets at 16:40)
Adults 12€, Kids (under 12) free, special discount rates available
Open; national COVID measures apply. Book your tickets online