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Castle of the Counts

Built: 1180
Type: Palace-Castle-Fortress
Location: Sint-Veerleplein, Ghent, Belgium
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I f Count Dracula can have a castle, then why can't the Counts of Belgium? This castle was erected for Philip of Alsace, who was the count of Flanders from 1157 to 1191. The castle is designed more to impress the senses than as protection during battle. It replaced three other houses, the first of which was built at this location in 867 by Baldwin Iron Arm, known for flexing his political muscle by marrying one of Charles the Bolds French daughters, whether he or she wanted it or not. The castle was incrementally expanded as Philip needed to continue to impress the people around him. This sort of thing can only go on so long, and by 1353 it had been abandoned. The castle was then used as a prison until the 1800's when it became a textile factory. The government got its hands on it in 1887 and did what governments do -- it started taking the castle apart. When the World Exhibition came around 30 years later, the building was hastily re-assembled. Today it serves as a museum and arts facility.

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