Top Historic Sights in Helsingborg, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Helsingborg

St. Mary's Church

Maria (St. Mary"s) Church is one of the oldest buildings in Helsingborg. The construction of the church started in the beginning of the 14th century and finished some hundred years later. The place, where the Maria church is standing today, has though been holy ever since people inhabited the area. In the end of the 12th century a little stone church was build in a Romance style, in the place were Maria church stands ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

Kärnan

Kärnan is a medieval tower, the only part remaining of a larger Danish fortress which controlled the entrance to the Baltic Sea. The origins of the fortress is disputed but Danish legend places its origin to the reign of the legendary King Fróði. However, this legend has not been supported by archaeological proof. Dendrochronological dating has shown that the core was built in the 1310s, when Eric VI of Denmark was Ki ...
Founded: 1310s | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

Sofiero Castle

Sofiero Castle was one of the Swedish royal family's country mansions. It was originally a Scanian farm called Skabelycke, bought in 1864 by Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and his wife Sophia of Nassau. The first one-story palace was completed in 1865. It was expanded to its current size between 1874 and 1876, after crown prince Oscar had been crowned king Oscar II of Sweden and Norway. In 1905, Oscar II's grandchild Princ ...
Founded: 1865 | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

Raus Church

Raus Church was completed in the mid-1100s and is one of the best preserved medieval churches in Scania. The nave was enlarged in the 1400s and belfry rebuilt in 1782. The altar, made of oak, dates from 1624. The richly carved Renaissance pulpit was made also in the 1600s.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

Pålsjö Castle

Pålsjö Castle was built in the late 1670s and the French style park dates from the 1760s. The first known owner was Sten Torbensen Bille, who died in 1520. The estate was destroyed in the Scanian war (1676–1679) and rebuilt soon after by Magnus Paulin, the Mayor of Helsingborg. During the Helsingborg battle in the Great Northern War (1700-1721) Earl Magnus Stenbock had his headquarters in Pålsjö ...
Founded: 1676-1679 | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

Kulla Gunnarstorp Castle

In the late 1400s Kulla Gunnarstorp was known as Gundestrup and it belonged to the Pardsberg family. In the mid-1500s it was acquired by Jörgen Brahe, who built the older castle which still exists. After him it has been owned by famous Sparre, De la Gardie and de Geer families. The newer castle was built by Baltzar von Platen in 1865-1868. This was designed by Danish architect Christian Zwingmann. Today the estate is ...
Founded: 1550s | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

Rosendal Palace

Rosendal Palace was built 1615 by Privy Council Anders Bille. The Bennet family has owned the palace for centuries. The castle consists of main building and wings with towers in corners.
Founded: 1615 | Location: Helsingborg, 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.