Geeraard de Duivelsteen

Ghent, Belgium

Geeraard de Duivelsteen is a Gothic building in Ghent, Belgium. It served as defense of the Portus Ganda, the city's port. The building was built in the 13th century and was named after the knight Geeraard Vilain (1210-1270), second son of the fifteenth viscount of Gent, Zeger III of Ghent. Vilain's nickname was Geeraard de Duivel ('Geerard the Devil'), which was based on his dark complexion and hair color.

In the 14th century the building became city property. Over the course of centuries it was used for various functions; gatherings of knights, as an armory, a monastery, a school, a bishop's seminary, an insane asylum and a prison. In 1775 the Rasphuis near the Coupure channel became the new prison. In 1830 the Geeraard de Duivelsteen became a fire station. Near the end of the 19th century it was bought by the Belgian state to serve as a national archive. For this purpose a new wing was built. Due to the numerous restorations the building has changed a lot since the Middle Ages.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium

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