The Halle Gate is a medieval fortified city gate of the second walls of Brussels. It is now a museum, part of the Royal Museums for Art and History. Built in 1381, the gate was named for the city of Halle in Flemish Brabant which it faces. The original gate included a portcullis and drawbridge over a moat. The structures that housed these are still visible.
While the other six gateways and the defensive walls were demolished, the Halle Gate survived as it was used as a prison. It was at other times used as a customs house, for grain storage, and a Lutheran church.
The architect Henri Beyaert restored the building between 1868 and 1870, changing the austere medieval tower with more romantic Neo Gothic embellishments. The outer entrance, now facing Saint-Gilles, is closer to the original appearance. In front of the inner gate, facing the city of Brussels, Beyaert added a circular tower topped by a conical roof, containing a monumental spiral staircase. Beyaert also added turrets and a large roof.
In 1847 the Halle Gate became part of Belgium's Museum of Armour, Antiquity and Ethnology, now named the Royal Museums for Art and History. By 1889, the Halle Gate was too small to house most of the collection, and most was relocated to the Cinquantenaire Museum. It continued to display armour and weapons.
In 1976, the building was in a dangerous state of disrepair and was closed. Finally renovations began, and the Gate was reopened in 1991. Further restoration was stalled by lack of money, and the museum only housed temporary exhibitions.
In March 2007 a new extensive restoration was begun. The Halle Gate finally reopened on June 6, 2008. Finally the St Gilles (drawbridge) entrance was opened as the prestigious main entrance to the building. The museum includes exhibits about the history of the building, and of the city of Brussels and its defence. The collection includes the parade armor of Archduke Albert of Austria.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.