The pièce de résistance of the Gravensteen Jail was the whipping pole installed on a small square in the middle of the building. The pole was surrounded by windows from three sides, allowing visitors or other criminals to properly see what was going on.
The jail began as a fortified safety house for the city’s counts and was built in the beginning of the 12th century. It later served as the counts’ private jail. In 1463, Duke Philip the Good donated the building to the city, and it became a public jail. Sadly, in those days, those who were interred here usually faced torture, long imprisonments, mutilation, and executions.
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