Top Historic Sights in Halmstad, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Halmstad

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas' Church was built in the 15th century as a three-nave hall church. It was badly damaged by fire in 1619. The font was made in the 15th century, pulpit in 1630 and altarpiece in 1675 (J. H. Wedekind).
Founded: c. 1432 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Halmstad Castle

Halmstad Castle (Halmstads slott) is a 17th-century castle dating from the time when Halland was a province of Denmark. In 1595 the farm on the site where the castle now stands was purchased for use as a residence for the Danish Christian IV on his visit to Halmstad. It was under the authority of King Christian that the castle was constructed. Construction on the castle and nine adjoining lots started in 1609. Constructi ...
Founded: 1609-1615 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

North Gate

North Gate (Norre Port) is the only existing part of the Halmstad city wall. It was completed in 1601 by King Kristian IV of Denmark. The gate was restored in 2005 and is one of the rare survived city gates in Sweden.
Founded: 1601 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Övraby Church Ruins

Övraby stone church was built around the year 1100 to the site of older church. There was also a Dominican monastery nearby in or around 1260. Halmstad moved in the 1320s to its present location and the old settlement came to be known as Övraby. The Swedish army’s ravages in the 1560s during the Northern Seven Years" War meant the end of “the upper village”. The church was burned to the gr ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Påarp Burial Ground

Påarp is the largest ancient burial ground in Halland. There are 220 barrows, cairns and stone settings. The largest one is 30m wide and 2m high. Archaeologists have dated the site to the Iron Ages (built between 0- 400 AD).
Founded: 0 - 400 AD | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Ivars Kulle

Ivars Kulle (Ivar"s Hill) is a 4m high and 40m wide family grave built probably in the Bronze Age. In 1972 excavation revealed five graves from the mound.
Founded: 1800 - 500 BC | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Tolarp Dolmen

Tolarp dolmen (passage grave) dates from the Stone Age (2300-1800 BC). In 1926 Folke Hansen found amber jewels, cheramics and other artefacts from the grave.
Founded: 2300-1800 BC | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.