Ghent’s Castle of the Counts

posted by Sharon January 11, 2020 21 Comments
Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

The Castle of the Counts is in the city center of Ghent, Belgium. This medieval fortress hasn’t been lived in for centuries, but the charm of its layers of walls and rooms, narrow stairways, and real battlements lives on. Just behind the moat, the castle also known as Gravensteen waits to welcome visitors to explore.

Back in the 800s, Count Arnulf of Flanders built a castle on this site. This small castle constructed out of wood included a grain store and it thrived in the growing industry of young Flanders. In fact, Ghent grew to be the largest city in the region. Two centuries later, wool became the dominant product of Ghent. The wooden castle, with its outdated grain store, was replaced with one built of Tournai limestone. The counts in power added high walls and watchtowers, and they extended the moat. You can still see inside the addition of different types of bricks to add color. The existing castle was built in 1180 by Count Philip of Alsace. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

The Castle of the Counts, while never a permanent residence, served for hundreds of years as a place for counts to stay during their travels. It seems no one in power wanted to live in Ghent full-time, as the people here were far too rebellious to make good neighbors, even with barriers of stone separating the high class from the commoner. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

The castle survived various ups and downs including a plan to demolish it, and eventually it was restored to what you see today. It’s been open to the public since 1907.

To tour the castle, buy a ticket at the front entrance and pick up an audio guide. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

You will wind through many rooms of the castle. Some have recreated furniture and wall hangings. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

There’s a harp! Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Some of the windows are made in a pretty colored bottle glass style. Castle of the Counts Ghent BelgiumCastle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Colorful banners tell the stories of battles and conquests. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

The brick work is puzzling in places, but somehow it all holds together. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

The Castle of the Counts at times hosted a court of law and, conveniently, a prison. The underground cells proved to be damp and cold in the winter. Torture was legal on and off, so flogging and removal of limbs were not unusual punishments. Some of the rooms retain a forbidding atmosphere. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Paintings and banners depict scenes of horror. Life in the middle ages was not easy. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Eventually you make your way to the top of the castle and you can walk around on the roof. Peer out of the battlements as soldiers of old once did. Castle of the Counts Ghent BelgiumCastle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

The view is something to enjoy. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Castle of the Counts Ghent BelgiumWhen you’re back outside, look up and see how high you were on the very top! Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

The last part of the tour, around the outside of the Castle but still inside the walls, shows that age is making inroads on this sturdy edifice. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Castle of the Counts Ghent BelgiumI was amazed that the Castle of the Counts is so much a part of the daily life of Ghent that people walk by and don’t even notice it. We ate dinner at this cafe literally in the shadow of a castle built in the 1100s. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

I found the compact, skyward architecture and the layers of history appealing. The Castle of the Counts shows so much of Ghent’s history and human (and inhuman) traits. Sit and enjoy a meal or a drink on the patio and bask in all you’ve learned and seen at this fascinating castle. Castle of the Counts Ghent Belgium

Practical Information

The Castle of the Counts is open every day from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Entry is 12 Euro for adults and free for children up to age 12.

For more information about visiting the castle, check out the official website.

Read more about my visit to Ghent.


Booking.com

For more information about visiting Ghent, check this excellent website. And these are helpful guides to help you plan your trip!

A Note about Photographs: I edit my photos in Lightroom and often use Presets to bring out the best in a photo. One set of Presets I recommend is Winter Wonderland by Helene in Between. They will make your photos “pop”!

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Linking up with Image-in-ing, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Weekend Wanderlust, Faraway Files, Wanderful Wednesday, Feet Do Travel, My Corner of the World, and Weekend Travel Inspiration.

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21 Comments

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Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin January 12, 2020 at 4:14 am

That is just amazing!! I can never get over knowing those were built so long ago before the modern building methods we have now.

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William Kendall January 12, 2020 at 1:04 pm

Beautiful shots!

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riitta k January 12, 2020 at 7:06 pm

Gorgeous shots. I loved the houses & their roofs sen from high avove.

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Cathy Keller January 13, 2020 at 5:54 am

I enjoyed your tour! Thank you! Have a wonderful week!

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Emma January 18, 2020 at 7:11 pm

What an awesome looking castle. Castles are one of my favourite parts about traveling through Europe. My hometown in the UK has a castle and I took it four granted until I moved to North America. Ghent looks like such a beautiful place too

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup January 13, 2020 at 9:01 am

Wow! I could spend days there with my camera!
Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/01/from-archives.html

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junieper2/Jesh StG January 13, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Gorgeous captures of the Gent castle, Sharon! I would go further than you to say that life back then was “not easy.” I would call it barbaric, to have your reputation built up by killing people. Even though I prefer the building styles of that time, over the modern glass and steel, I rather live in this time, where a reputation can be built by more worthwhile pursuits:) Great and beautiful post for All Seasons, Sharon – many thanks, and have a lovely week! Jesh

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Veronica Lee January 14, 2020 at 12:46 am

Fascinating post! I would love to visit the Ghent Castle!

Happy Tuesday!

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Keri | Ladies What Travel January 14, 2020 at 9:13 am

Love your images! I’ve wanted to visit Ghent for a while, even more so after seeing this place- I do love a bit of history when I travel! #Throughmylens

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Erin January 15, 2020 at 9:36 am

I have visited Antwerp and Brugge, but have yet to make it to Ghent. It’s on the list! I will definitely visit the Castle of the Counts when I go to Ghent – it looks beautiful and its history is fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

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Marcea January 15, 2020 at 4:42 pm

Wow the castle looks amazing. Would love to be able to visit one day.

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May Durkee January 15, 2020 at 6:11 pm

These are all amazing pictures, I truly felt like I was there. Thanks for sharing, I will definitely keep on my “to visit” list when in Belgium.

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Coni January 15, 2020 at 11:53 pm

That looks so interesting! I’ve been in Belgium a few times, but never stopped in Ghent. I’ll make sure to do on my next visit! 🙂

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Nicole Claesen January 18, 2020 at 7:22 am

I definitely love visiting a castle! This one is gorgeous!! Your pictures are so beautiful and love the little details you showed. This will absolutely be on my list when we visit. Thanks so much for sharing it.

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Adriane January 18, 2020 at 3:08 pm

This is amazing! I want to get back to Europe soon, and these castles will definitely be on my list when I make it to Belgium!

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Maria Elsa Jose January 18, 2020 at 5:21 pm

I love castles! Dreamin’ to visit one! All of your photos rock!!!

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Lisa | Handmade in Israel January 19, 2020 at 12:53 am

I love the views and the glass bottle window! I visited Ghent years ago but don’t remember the castle. #feetdotravel

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Krystianna January 19, 2020 at 8:28 am

This looks amazing! I visited Brussels last year and wasn’t the biggest fan of the city, but I’d love to visit Ghent. Thanks for sharing!

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Anna January 19, 2020 at 8:49 am

I’ve been to Ghent,but did not visit The Castle of the Counts! The views from the top and the interiors are amazing! I wish I could travel back to Belgium soon!

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Allison January 20, 2020 at 4:25 am

There is such fascinating history surrounding the medieval structures in the world. My family loves to visit castles whenever we can. I’m definitely adding this one to our list. #FeetDoTravel

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Sharon January 24, 2020 at 1:14 am

Such beautiful photos. I would love to visit Ghents Castle one day.

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