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Local name: Burcht van Leiden
Burcht van Leiden, meaning the fort (fortress) in Leiden is probably the oldest defensive structure in the Netherlands. Its origins date back to the X-XI century AD, when the hill was artificially raised and a wooden castle was built on it. The earth mound was raised several times - currently it rises to about 12 m. At the beginning of the 13th century the hill was surrounded by a circular wall, behind which in case of danger the inhabitants of Leiden found shelter. It is now a recreational area and a valued viewing point.
Burcht van Leiden consisted practically of the wall itself, which surrounds the inner circle-shaped area with a diameter of about 35 meters. The fort was not a building intended for long-term defense. The defensive walls are about 6 m high, but their thickness does not exceed 1 m - such a structure could not resist too long cannon fire.
In the 17th century, the building eventually lost its military functions. In 1651, Leiden authorities bought a hill with a castle and organized a park in this place. At that time, the gate, which has survived to this day, was created, on which the city's coat of arms is displayed.