Top Historic Sights in Ekerö, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Ekerö

Drottningholm Palace

The Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It was originally built in the late 16th century. It served as a residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mainly because of its Theatre (an opera house located at the ...
Founded: 1662 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Ekerö Church

The Romanescue-style church of Ekerö date from the late 12th century. It was enlarged in the 1300s and the tower was erected in the 15th century. The overpainted mural paintings were found in the restoration made in 1933. the altarpiece date from the 17th century. The oldest artefact in the church is a font dating from the 12th century. The interesting detail is a runic script in the tombstone under the pulpit. The ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Ekebyhov Castle

The estate of Ekebyhov was created by Klas Horn (1583-1632) in the 1620s by merging farms Ekeby, Hovgården and Gällsta. Horn built a stone castle on three floors, which now no longer exists. The existing palace is a wooden two-storey building built in the 1670s, when Field Marshal Count Carl Gustaf Wrangel acquired Ekebyhov. Wrangel's death in 1676 halted the construction and it was resumed in 1701, when Baron ...
Founded: 1670-1701 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Adelsö Church

The stone church of Adelsö was built in the late 1100s. No traces have been found of the first church on the location, but it is assumed it was made of wood. This original structure was however replaced by a stone building, possibly initiated by the king living at the royal estate at Hovgården. If true, the church thus originally served both the local parish and the royal mansion. The stone structure originall ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Hovgården

Hovgården is an archaeological site on the Lake Mälaren island of Adelsö. During the Viking Age, the centre of the prospering Mälaren Valley was the settlement Birka, founded in the mid-8th century and abandoned in the late 10th century and located on the island Björkö just south of Adelsö. Hovgården is believed to have been the site from where kings and chieftains ruled the area. ...
Founded: ca. 100-1520 AD | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Hilleshög Church

The Hilleshög Church is a mostly Romanesque edifice, built in granite and brick, with some parts from the 17th and 18th centuries and later additions. It was probably built in the late 1100s and the sacristy and the porch were added in the 15th century. Many of the paintings in the interior, dating back to the end of 13th century and they early 15th century, were painted over in the 18th century but were restored in ...
Founded: ca. 1170 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Helgö

The island of Helgö is probably best known for a major archaeological area. The old trading town on Helgö began to emerge around the year 200 AD, 500 years before the well-known Birka. The first archaeological excavaton in 1954 found not only remains of the early settlement, but also a workshop area that became of international interest. Among the finds were a small Buddha statuette from North India and a christening s ...
Founded: 200 AD | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Kaggeholm Castle

The site where Kaggeholm Palace is located was first mentioned in a document in 1287. During the 1500s the farm was owned by members of the families Grip and Bååt. The farm was originally called Vettersjö, but was named by Swedish Count Lars Kagg (1595-1661) who bought the manor during 1647. Kagg was a political ally of King Gustavus Adolphus, a member of the Privy Council of Sweden and Field Marshal duri ...
Founded: 1725 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Munsö Church

Munsö Church is one of a few medieval round churches in Sweden. Traces of permanent habitations dating from the Bronze or Iron Age have been found in the area, and several of the larger farmsteads in the area are traceable back to the Iron Age. Munsö Church was possibly built for one such farm, called Bona. The church dates from the 12th century. The exact date is unknown, but given the peculiarity that the chu ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Sånga Church

The Sånga church has been mentioned first time in 1308, when madame Ingeborg donated her land property to the church. The church was however built already in the late 1100s and enlarged in the 14th century. The church has interesting mural paintings made around 1470. There are for example humorous paintings displaying events of Holy Bible. Also the pulpit, made in 1635, is richly decorated.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Färentuna Church

Färentuna Church was built around the year 1175. The nave was enlarged in the 15th century when the church was under the protection of Karl Knutsson Bonde. The enlargement was made for his daughter’s weddings because the church was too small for all people. The latest notable reconstruction was made in 1732, when the medieval tower was replaced by the present wooden cap. The pulpit of Färentuna church was ...
Founded: 1175 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Skå church

The nave of Romanescue-style Skå church was built probably in the late 1100s. It was enlarged to to east and the sacristy was added in the 14th century. The church was completely restored in 1695 but destroyed by fire only couple of days after the inauguration. The new restoration began immediatelly and it was completed in 1702. The present tower was added in 1868.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.