In the 11th century, the Dukes of Brabant had a fortress constructed in Brussels, on a natural elevation in the landscape. Over the centuries it served as the home of several different ruling clans, passing through the hands of the the Dukes of Burgundy, Emporer Charles V, the Archdukes Albert and Isabel, and the Austrian Hapsburg family. It was often renovated and improved by whoever was occupying it, with the most extensive work taking place during the Burgundian reign.
The original palace burned down in 1731, and the buildings that are now the current Royal Palace and the Bellevue Hotel were constructed over the ruins. In 1978 the Hotel ceased to be available for residential stays, and now holds three museums, one of which is comprised of the excavated ruins of the old Palace -- primarily caves, halls and vaulted chambers. The other two Bellevue Museums are the Museum of the Belgian Dynasty and the King Baudouin Memorial.
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