Top Historic Sights in Sønderborg, Denmark

Explore the historic highlights of Sønderborg

Sønderborg Castle

Sønderborg Castle history began probably as a fortified tower constructed by Valdemar the Great in 1158. The castle was built to provide protection against attacks by the Wends and was part of a larger system of fortifications. Over the centuries, the castle has gradually been enlarged and rebuilt. In the years following construction of Valdemar's fortified tower, an important struggle developed between the Danish king a ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

St. Mary's Church

The St. Mary"s Church in Sønderborg is located on a hill and is a very iconic for the city. In the Middle Ages there was a leper colony on a hill just outside the city. It was named after Saint George and around 1300 the chapel of this leper colony stood in the place of the present St. Mary"s Church. After the old parish church of the city, the St. Nicholas Church, was demolished around 1530, the Saint-George c ...
Founded: 1595-1600 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Ulkebøl Church

Ulkebøl Church was built in the 13th century. It was enlarged in the 16th century and again in 1787. It contains a beautiful triptych altarpiece from the 1500s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Sandbjerg Manor

The history of the Sandbjerg Estate goes back to the beginning of the 16th century. In 1564 the estate became the property of Duke Hans the Younger (1545-1622), when his brother Frederik II transferred ownership of a third of the royal duchies to him - an area which included Ærø, Als, and Sundeved in the Duchy of Schleswig. The Duke left his mark on the landscape, commissioning the building of a dam -which e ...
Founded: 1783 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Lysabild Church

Lysabild Church was built around 1100 is one of the oldest in the region. The frescoes and baptismal font made of Gotland limestone are notable. The altarpiece is from the 1780s, chancel arch crucifix from 1450s. There are historic war monuments of 1864-1920 in the churchyard.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Kegnæs Church

Kegnæs Church was built in 1615 by John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg. It was built in the style of many local Romanesque style churches. The altarpiece dates from about 1450 and was formerly (like the font and pulpit) situated in the now vanished St. Nicolaj Church in Soenderborg. The figure of Christ is from about 1500 on railing between nave and chancel. Two side figures, the Virgin Mary and the apostle Jo ...
Founded: 1615 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Hørup Church

Hørup Church is a Romanesque whitewashed granite block church with Gothic additions. It has an separate belfry. The pulpit dates from 1576 and 12 apostle figures in the altarpiece from 1425.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Ullerup Church

Ullerup church was built around 1200 in Romanesque style and has mainly survived. The tower was added in 1902. The Baroque style altarpiece was made 1707 by Anthon Günther Fres from Elsass (Alsace). The Renaissance style pulpit is made of oak in 1578. The baptismal font, made of Gotland limestone, dates from c. 1400.  
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Adsbøl Church

Adsbøl Church dates from the 13th century and consists of Romanesque choir and nave with Gothic features. It was damaged during the war or 1658-1659 with Sweden, but was restored. In the late 18th century it was remodelled again. In the cemetery is a memorial of World War I victims.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Tandslet Church

Tandslet Church was built around 1200. The wooden bell tower was built also in the Middle Ages and it is situated in the Bronze Age burial mound. Frescoes dates from the late Middle Ages and pulpit from 1576. Altarpiece was made by Aabenraa artist Jes Jessen, from 1798. Organs were built 1863 by Marcussen & Son, Aabenraa.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Nybøl Church

Nybøl Church dates from c. 1150 and is typical Romanesque stone church. It was expanded later in the Middle Ages and again in 1582. The font is original from the Romanesque age. The pulpit dates from 1608.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.

Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.

Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.

Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.

The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.