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Castle ‘Het Steen’ at Antwerp (Belgium)

Castle ‘Het Steen’ at Antwerp (Belgium)

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Mark Billiau.

World Member, region Antwerp, Belgium

Castle ‘Het Steen’ at Antwerp (Belgium)

Castle ‘Het Steen’ is the oldest building in the metropole of Antwerp.

In the 9th century there was already a stone fortification on this spot to protect the city against attacks from the Vikings.
That fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands.

Several expansion works took place in the 13th and 16th century and the fortress became an impressive castle.
One can see very well the color difference between the original dark chalk stone and the lighter coloured sand stone that was used later.

Perhaps you noticed that there are few windows in the edifice.
That is because the castle was used as city jail (with lots of torture chambers) for 500 years long (14th till 19th century).

What we see now is only a small part of the original castle, which at one point in history was almost six time the current size.
At the end of the 19th century, the city authorities decided to widen the river and a big part of the castle was pulled down to make room for the development of the port of Antwerp.

The castle survived barely.
The Antwerp city council agreed to the conservation of a small part of the castle with just only 1 majority vote.
Without that 1 vote on surplus, this great historical castle would have been completely demolished !

Castles of Belgium
Folder Castles of Belgium

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