Halle Gate in Brussels was built in 1381 and served as part of the city’s second set of defences. This 14th century tower is the only remaining gateway of the seven that once stood dotting the defensive walls. The original gate included a portcullis and a drawbridge over a moat. After the other six gateways and walls were demolished Halle Gate remained in use at first as a prison, though later it functioned as a custom house, a grain storage and at one stage as a Lutheran Church. In 1847 it became part of the Belgium’s Museum of Armour, Antiquity and Ethnology. The tower was restored and altered by the architect Henri Beyaert between 1868 and 1870. Beyaert added romantic Neo-Gothic details, the turrets, and the conical roof thus changing the relatively unadorned Medieval tower. An immense spiral staircase runs from the ground floor to the top of the tower. Halle Gate operated as a museum until 1976 when it fell into a dangerous state of disrepair, it did not reopen until 1991. Further restoration was carried out in 2007 and Halle Gate now serves as a museum dealing mainly in Armour and Armaments and offers a beautiful, if not somewhat stomach churning, panorama of the city!
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