At a recent visit to Bruges, our marketing manager got a little excited about some wrought iron railings!
Whilst there, she climbed the 366 steps to the famous Belfry bell tower and came across these rather ornate wrought iron railing gates which had been used to protect chests containing valuable documents and other historic treasures.
The inscription says:
“Behind these two wrought iron doors stood the sturdy padlocked chests in which the Bruges city charters and other important documents were stored.
This masterpiece is made by Erembakd de Smid around 1290 and there are ten locks on the doors. Eight of the keys were in the hands of the deacons of the guilds and trades. The remaining two were kept by the head of “sint-janszestendeel”, a district in the city, and the mayor.
None of these dignitaries could consult or replace the privileges without collaboration of the nine others. As a result, the doors were only rarely opened and such an occasion always involved a certain measure of pomp and circumstance.”
The Belfry of Bruges, or Belfort, is a medieval bell tower in the historical centre of Bruges, Belgium. One of the city’s most prominent symbols, the belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. A narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps, accessible by the public for an entry fee, leads to the top of the 83-metre-high building.
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