Hello all, it has been a while. I have been using my time over the past few weeks to write some new articles and I know full well I have neglected you all a bit.
I am going to tell you about a building I know very well, inside and out, in my hometown of Leiden: the Gravensteen.
Graven means Counts, and Steen was used to indicate a place where law was practised . I know this building so well because it used to be home to the International office of Leiden university and yes, I used to work there. When my persona Ava is parked somewhere safe, my regular mundane person has to work for a living, right? 🙂 And so, this old building was my office, back in 2006.
The Gravensteen was built at the beginning of the 12th century. First, it was used as a safe house for the Counts of Holland, who used a local manor as one of their residences frequently. Later it became the local prison. The square tower dates (in all probability) from the 13th century, making it the oldest surviving part of the building.
It is by far the most beautiful building I ever worked in.
In 1556, the prison cells you see in the gallery were added to the building. Punishments were a public event, as you might know. The culprit would be tied to the pole you see below and would receive a flogging as a sentence. After this, no doubt many a rotten egg followed by the enthusiastic crowd…