Medieval castles in Belgium

Cleydael Castle

Cleydael Castle is a moated castle in Aartselaar originally dating from the 14th century. The four towers are called Fox tower, Chapel tower, Owl tower and Cat tower. The castle was the home of the lords of Cleydael until the end of the 18th century. After being part of the golf course, it is now private property again.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Aartselaar, Belgium

Crupet Keep

The keep of Crupet Castle was built in the 13th century and originally consisted of a square tower surrounded by a moat. The entrance was probably protected by a drawbridge and portcullis. In the 16th century, the keep was converted to a manor house. A corner tower was added, the windows were enlarged, and the timber top floor and roof were built. The drawbridge was probably also replaced at this time. The keep is not ope ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Crupet, Belgium

Elst Castle Ruins

Elst castle ruins in Duffel is one of the oldest buildings in the province of Antwerp. The oldest reference dates from the 12th century. At that time castle was owned by the brothers Hildincshusen. From 1356 until the French Revolution in 1789 the castle was owned by the Tongerlo Abbey and was inhabited by the steward. It was also used as a residence for the nobility. In 1584 the castle burned down and was then rebuilt. I ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Duffel, Belgium

Walzin Castle

Walzin Castle is located over the river Lesse near Dinant. Construction began in the 13th century, and the 15th-century Renaissance horseshoe tower with four cannon ports still exists, even though the castle was burned down by the French army in 1554. There were several restorations later, the latest by Baron Fréderic Brugman between 1930 and 1932. Victor Hugo made a drawing of it in 1863.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Prinsenkasteel

Prinsenkasteel ('Prince Castle') was founded in the 14th century by the lords of Grimbergen. The current castle buildings were constructed by Filips Frans van Glymes in the late 17th century. Today the ruins are surrounded by a moat.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Grimbergen, Belgium

Montquintin Castle

Montquintin Castle was probably originally designed to defend the southern border of the counts of Chiny. It was built in the 11th century by order of Louis II, Count of Chiny (born 1025). Over the centuries the castle has undergone many changes. The central part was rebuilt the 18th centuryt by the Bishop of Hontheim, last owner. In 1869 a fire destroyed the castle. The basement includes a vaulted cellar, which is ver ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rouvroy, Belgium

Castle of the Princes de Mérode

Castle of the Princes de Mérode, also called as 'old castle', has been the home of the House of Merode since more than five centuries. The central keep or Donjon was built in local brown stone in the 14th-century. It probably replaced an older fortress on the same spot. Other parts of the building date from the 16th century. The castle was adapted, extended and restorated several times. From the 16th century onwards it w ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Westerlo, Belgium

Herbeumont Castle

Built on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the village and the Semois Valley, the medieval ruins of Herbeumont castle offer a splendid panorama of the river and its meanders. The first stones of the fortress were laid by Jean of Rochefort, of the House of Walcourt. From one century to another, it will belong to other families: Orgeo, Marck-Rochefort, Stolberg and Löwestein. Building it on this peak meant the castle c ...
Founded: 1268 | Location: Herbeumont, Belgium

Poeke Castle

Poeke Castle was built in 1875 to the site of older castle. Standing in 56 hectares (140 acres) of park, it is surrounded by water and is accessible through bridges at the front and rear of the building. It is unknown when the first fortification was constructed at Poeke, but references to it appear from 1139 onwards. The castle played a prominent role during the conflict between Count Louis II of Flanders and the city o ...
Founded: 1452/1875 | Location: Aalter, Belgium

Anvaing Castle

Anvaing Castle (Château d"Anvaing or Château de Lannoy) is a historic residence in Frasnes-lez-Anvaing. The site has been occupied by a castle since the time of the First Crusade. The first known reference dates from 1127. There is little documentation of the buildings on the site however until the reconstructions of 1561 and 1800. The owners were apparently the Roubaix family, judging from the arms on an early pa ...
Founded: 1561 | Location: Frasnes-lez-Anvaing, Belgium

Renesse Castle

Willem van Berchem built the first Renesse Castle at Malle between 1431 and 1464. Nothing remains of this original castle, and the only remaining visible vestiges are the donjon which now is the articulation point of the castle and the so-called tournament beam which is now placed above the fireplace in the knight room. In 1459 his daughter Elisabeth married Wouter van Hamal, who thereby inherited the Oostmalle domain, an ...
Founded: 1431/1545 | Location: Malle, Belgium

Elewijt Castle

Elewijt Castle originates from the 11th century when there was a wooden fortification. The stone castle was erected around 1300. The castle is also known as Rubenskasteel because it was owned by Peter Paul Rubens from 1635 to his death in 1640, and features in some of his paintings. In 1792 the castle was converted into a state prison. The castle is now privately owned and not open to the public.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Elewijt, Belgium

Borrekens Castle

Borrekens Castle was built around 1270 by a member of the Van Rotselaar family who were stewards of the Dukes of Brabant. They built this square water castle in a swampy area, close to the road Antwerp-Turnhout which was probably a part of the trade route to Cologne in Germany. It is built out of white Vilvoorde sandstone. The castle stayed in the hands of the Van Rotselaar family until the beginning of the 16th century. ...
Founded: 1270 | Location: Vorselaar, Belgium

Jemeppe Castle

Jemeppe Castle is located in Hargimont, now part of the municipality of Marche-en-Famenne. It is known that during the Roman era a fortified villa was established in the region. The present castle is however of medieval origin. In the Middle Ages the manor of Jemeppe consisted of only a few buildings, surrounded by marshland and the river Hedrée. These offered little protection against the ruling families of Namur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium

Kruikenburg Castle

Kruikenburg Castle is a listed building in the village of Ternat. It was the seat of the lordship of Kruikenburg, which included the villages of Ternat, Sint-Katarina-Lombeek and Wambeek. A medieval foundation, the castle was extensively remodelled in the 16th and 18th centuries, giving it its current appearance. In 1662 the lord of Kruikenburg was elevated to the title of count. In the 20th century the castle became a ho ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ternat, Belgium

Hauteroche Castle Ruins

Hauteroche ('High Rock') is a ruined 14th-century castle, destroyed after a siege in 1554, in the village of Dourbes in the municipality of Viroinval, province of Namur. It is situated on a ca. 50 meters high, rocky promontory, looking out over the valley of the Viroin river. The isolated site of the castle is separated from the plateau by a large, hand cut ditch. It has a square keep with 2.5 meter thick ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Viroinval, Belgium

Male Castle

Male Castle was almost entirely rebuilt and restored after the destruction of World War II. It has housed St. Trudo"s Abbey since 1954. The castle"s origins date back to the 9th century, as a defensive tower for protection of the territory around Bruges against the Vikings. Male was held by Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, between 1168 and 1191, who replaced the wooden structure with one built of stone, whi ...
Founded: c. 1166 | Location: Bruges, Belgium

Castle of l'Estriverie

In 1324 the Castle of l"Estriverie estate was declared a fief by the Counts of Hainaut and granted to Gérard de Lestruve. The estate was passed on to Hoste d"Ecaussinnes and in 1440 to the Despretz de Quievrain family who kept it until 1483. One of this family, Watier de Quivrains, erected a castle here in 1454. It is on the foundations of this old castle that the current building stands. In 1483 the estate p ...
Founded: 1454 | Location: Lessines, Belgium

Couwelaar Castle

Couwelaar Castle, also known as De Drie Torekens (The Three Turrets) is L-shaped and consists of a main building with wings, as well as several outbuildings including a coach house. The main building is characterized by two round towers at the front and a built-in, square tower at the rear. Over the centuries, the castle has been extensively altered and restored several times and has stylistic elements of the Neo-Renaissa ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Antwerp, Belgium

La Royère Castle

La Royère Castle was built in the 13th century by Arnaud d"Audenarde. Today it lies in ruins surrounded by a moat. 
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hainaut, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.