The Sablon lies near the Mont des Arts neighbourhood, and lay not far outside the first city walls of Brussels. It was originally an unused open space, with areas of wetlands, grassland and sand, where a hermit made his home. The words sablon and zavel both mean a fine-grained sand, halfway between silt and sand. The Saint John Hospital (Dutch: Sint-Jansgasthuis, French: Hôpital Saint-Jean) used the area as a cemetery in the thirteenth century, having run out of space in their own cemetery.
In 1304, the hospital sold the land to the crossbowmen's guild...

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