Turnhout

Short visit to the Beguinage and the castle.
One of the most beautiful and peaceful beguinages in Belgium can be found in Turnhout. It was founded in the 13th century in the park, called de Warande, which used to surrounded the castle in those days. Over the centuries, this beguinage has known moments of great prosperity, and was at times inhabited by hundreds of beguines. Yet it has not been spared from disasters like fires, looting and outbreaks of the plague. In 1998 the beguinage in Turnhout was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and now houses mostly senior citizens.
Within walking distance of the market square is the historic castle of the Dukes of Brabant (12th century). Over the years the castle has been continually rebuilt. In the time of Mary of Hungary, Governor of the Netherlands, it was a magnificent building. In the following years the building had a chequered history until in the 18th and 19th centuries it had been so neglected that it was used, amongst other things, as a municipal storehouse. The province purchased the building at the beginning of the 20th century and carried out a thorough restoration after the First World War. It now houses the law courts.

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