Gravelines (Dutch: Grevelingen) is a commune in the Nord department in Northern France. It lies at the mouth of theriver Aa 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Dunkirk. It was formed in the 12th century around the mouth of a canal built to connect Saint-Omer with the sea. As it was on the western borders of Spanish territory in Flanders it became heavily fortified, some of which still remains.


Placed in the centre of the citadel, in the axis of the channel leading to the sea, it dominates with its 27 metres height the watch towers of the shipowners, who kept a lookout from their posts for the return of their crews.

Made of brick, limestone and stone, Gravelines belfry is characterised first of all by the architectural simplicity of its square tower, whose only fancy touch is its slate-covered louvre window. This building, erected in 1608, was restored at the beginning of the 19th century, without its decorations.

In 1903, a weather vane was added. Every year, it has the privilege of having Father Christmas abseil down in a very sporty manner. The other sportsman was the clockmaker in the square who, until 2005, climbed the 104 steps of the spiral staircase every eight days to wind the clock manually !

Now the clock is automatic, and the old mechanism will soon be put on display in a glass case.


One might suggest to put Gravelines also on the Fortifications of Vauban World Heritage Site.
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Categories & Keywords
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory:Europe
Subcategory Detail:France
Keywords:Belfort, Belfries, Belfries of France, Belfry, Dünya Mirası, France, Frankrijk, Gravelines, Grevelingen, MAAILMANPERINTÖ, Pasaules mantojuma, Pasaulio paveldo, Patrimoine Mondial, Patrimonio Mondiale, Patrimonio de la Humanidad, Património Mundial, Tower, Unesco, Vauban, Welterbe, Werelderfgoed, Wirt Dinji, afbeelding, foto, foto's, jpg, photo, photos, picture, pictures, place charles valentin,, toren, turm, vesting, världsarv, Światowe Dziedzictwo, التراث, العالمي, مواقع