Gates


Gates
   There were seven gates (portes, poorten) giving ingress into and egress out of the city following construction of the first town wall. Gates included the Steenporte south of the Grand' Place, and those of Coudenberg, Sainte-Gudule, Warmoes, Noire, Sainte-Catherine, and Saint-Jacques.
   The second town wall also featured, at first, seven gates built at those points where roads radiated out from the city to neighboring communities. The gates were designated Cologne (Schaerbeek), Sainte-Gudule (Leuven), Coudenberg (Namur), Obrussel (Hal), Cruyskens (Anderlecht), Laeken (Antwerp), and Flanders. Only the last retained its original name. Each of the city's seven lignages held a key to one of the gates, for which it held responsibility. In 1383, a prison was established at each gate to confine malefactors who committed offenses against a particular lignage. In 1421, a porter chosen by the nations was assigned to each gate. An eighth gate—porte de Rivage or du Canal—was built following completion of the Wille-broeck Canal. The port de Ninove was opened in 1816. The porte de Laeken was demolished in 1807 and another reopened that had been walled up since the 16th century. It was named the porte Napoléon (or Bonaparte), de l'Allée Verte, and Guillaume, successively, and, after 1830, the porte d'Anvers. The porte de Louise opened in 1840 under the name porte de Charleroi. Built by Charles Vander Straeten, it was constructed to facilitate collection of tolls. In 1839, the porte de Léopold was built to encourage development of the Léopold district.
   The town wall gates were closed at night. In the 18th century, they were open from 3:30 to 21:30 in summer and from 6:30 to 17:00 in winter. With the razing of the town wall at the end of the 18th century the gates were demolished. Toll barriers were subsequently erected on the sites until tolls were abolished in 1860. The names are preserved in the titles of streets, intersections, and metro stations.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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