CASTLES OF THE WORLD - GRAVENSTEENID92930064
€14.00 (Taxes not incl.)
The Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre presents a new series of collector coins dedicated to the "Castles of the World". It has been difficult to make the selection, taking into account that in Spain alone there are more than 10,000 castles registered, so we have had the collaboration of the Spanish Association of Friends of the Castles for an appropriate choice of castles to represent.
The collection is made up of sixteen coins, which can be purchased individually, as a complete collection and in sets of four coins each.
On the obverse is a colourful image of Gravensteen Castle, which is located in the city of Ghent, Belgium. It is a large dark stone fortress surrounded by the waters of the River Lys, which the Vikings entered several times from the sea, devastating everything in their path.
On the reverse (common to all the coins), within a central circular area, the value of the coin 1.5 EURO appears; to its right, the mint mark; at the bottom, the legend CASTLES OF THE WORLD. An allegory of the structure of the castles surrounds the legends in the central area.
|Series||Castles Of The World|
|Face Value (Euro)||1.5|
|Maximum Mintage (units)||5,000|
In the heart of the Belgian city of Ghent, the second most populous in the country, and located at the confluence of the rivers Lys and Scheldt, stands the Gravensteen, or Castle of the Counts of Ghent, the only medieval fortress to survive in the region of Flanders.
Wood was Initially used for its construction, and several additional buildings were attached to it, mainly warehouses due to the flourishing trade and industry in that region. The wood was later gradually replaced by the precious limestone of Tournai, until finally, in 1180, Philip of Alsace, the Count of Ghent, erected its outer wall, featuring 24 turrets with embrasures; a gatehouse to the inner bailey; and the keep inside it, a symbol of the count’s power, which is accessed by a spiral staircase and from which there are beautiful views of the city.
The lack of luxury in the castle prompted Louis II of Flanders, the Count of Ghent at the time, to move his residence to the nearby Prinsenhof (‘Court of Princes’), which a century later would become the birthplace of the future King Charles I of Spain. This move made it easier for the Council of Flanders, the highest court of law during the period, to establish its seat inside the Gravensteen fortress.
Before being acquired by the industrialist Jean-Denis Brismaille in 1778, who turned it into a textile factory, the Castle of the Counts was also a municipal prison – of which its cold and gloomy dungeons are a testament – and a mint. This new status, with the keep converted into a cotton spinning mill and the rest of the building into workers’ housing, caused the fortress to undergo a continuous process of deterioration and decline, to the point of being lost altogether, as its land was intended to be reclassified and sold for residential use.
However, in the early years of the 20th century, helped in part by the International Exposition held in the city in 1913, the situation was reversed, and its acquisition by the city government allowed the monument to be restored to the splendour it experienced in the Middle Ages.
In addition to an impressive collection of medieval weapons, this medieval fortification – whose structure is reminiscent of the famous Krak des Chevaliers in northern Syria – has a macabre and chilling collection of instruments of torture, known as the executioner’s cabinet; the square adjacent to the castle was the site for executions carried out in fulfilment of the justice meted out by the counts.
Finally, if you like painting – street art in particular, you should visit the Castle of the Counts: one of its towers (which one?) provides the only view of the mural that the Spanish artist Taquen dedicated to the extraordinary Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck, a version of his Portrait of a Man in a Red Turban.