Gravensteen Castle

We visited Gravensteen Castle, also known as the Castle of the Counts, on our first visit to Gent, and I suspect we will return many times with our son, or with any visitors, especially if they have kids. While this attraction is appropriate for any age visitor, what kid can resist a castle? That said, visitors be forewarned: the castle tour includes collections of historical weapons and torture devices, so keep that in mind if you or any of your touring companions need to be shielded from such things!

I’ve linked to the official website for the castle above, so I won’t recount things that you can learn there about the history of the castle or logistics for a visit. I’ll just introduce it by saying that the fortress dates back to the 10th century and has been wonderfully restored. There are permanent collections but also appear to be various events and activities that take place each year, and of course, like any great tourist attraction, a well-stocked gift shop! We enjoyed our visit. Here are some of the highlights:

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Interior courtyard. The entrance to the castle is to the right in this picture and the tour starts at the top of the stairwell that you can see just to the right of center.
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We were greeted by this friendly little guy near the entrance to the gift shop and tour. I’ve yet to figure out his story, but we were amused to find him and appreciated his warm welcome!
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This was one of the first rooms we saw. The gift shop was the first place we entered and this is adjacent to it.
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One of many suits of armor on display, along with swords and many other historical weapons not pictured. I imagine the electrical vacuum is not usually part of the exhibit.
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Remember when I said there is an exhibit of torture devices? Well, here’s one of them. We ushered our six-year-old through this part of the tour pretty quickly.
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There are excellent 360 degree views of Gent, and beyond, from the top.
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You are able to walk all around the interior to see the castle from all sides.
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An interior room. If I recall correctly, it was used as a chapel area where prisoners were taken before they were killed, but I might not have my facts straight! I recommend you pay more attention than I did to the informative signs when you are there. Shamefully, I think I was too busy trying to get a perfect picture for Instagram. I mean, I knew I’d be coming back to learn it again, so that’s okay, right?
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An historic toilet. With a view.
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Underneath it all.

Kudos to the city of Gent for preserving and restoring this piece of history in the city. It is very well done and an excellent place for tourists to visit and for history to be remembered.

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