Located underneath one of the oldest stone buildings in Bruges, dating from around the 10th or 11th century, is a collection of medieval torture devices.
The Torture Museum of Brugge is located in a former fortress that was designed to protect Bruges. During the 14th century, the building became known as “the Old Stone” as it became the site of a medieval prison. The museum now plays host to more than 100 different torture devices, all displayed in chronological order.
As visitors wander through the rooms of the former prison, they also journey through a time where torture was a widespread form of punishment and public executions were the norm. The various devices on display range from the 13th century to the 18th century. It’s a wonderfully dark journey with tons of intriguing information. Many of the devices are equipped with mannequins displaying how they were used, which creates a lurid atmosphere. A few of the items on display are the wooden horse, chair of torture, and a device designed to compress the stomach known as the caretaker’s daughter.
The building itself leaves a strong impression on all who venture inside. It displays the harsh realities of life during the Middle Ages, where crimes, heresy, or a simple accusation of wrongdoing could result in a few hours on the rack.