Top Historic Sights in Växjö, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Växjö

Old Gymnasium

The Gymnasium (Karolinska gymnasiet) was built between 1696-1715 using stones of Kronoberg Castle ruins. It was a grammar school at which Linnaeus, Per Henrik Ling and Peter Wieselgren were pupils.
Founded: 1696-1715 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Växjö Cathedral

Växjö Cathedral was built as a single-nave stone church around 1120. According the legend the Cathedral was built on the spot where St. Sigfrid founded a wooden church. His relics were kept here until the Reformation, when they were destroyed. The cathedral burnt down the first time in 1276 and has since been renovated numerous times. The lofty copper clad twin spires of the cathedral give Växjö a ver ...
Founded: ca. 1120 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Teleborg Castle

Despite its middle-age style, the The Castle of Teleborg was built in 1900 by architect firm Lindvall & Boklund. The castle was built as a wedding present from count Fredrik Bonde af Björnö to his wife Anna Koskull. 17 years later the couple had died, and the castle was used as a hotel for young girls and for accommodation in general. In 1964 the city of Växjö bought it and the surrounding park from the Bonde fami ...
Founded: 1900 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Småland Museum

Småland Museum is the oldest county museum in Sweden. It opened in the present building in 1885. Permanent exhibitions display the history of Småland from the Stone Ages through the silver treasure of Vikings to 19th and 20th century living style. There is also a glass museum.
Founded: 1885 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Kronoberg Castle Ruins

Kronoberg Castle is a medieval ruin located on an island in lake Helgasjön. In 1444 Lars Mikaelson, the bishop of Växjö, built a stone building on the lakeshore. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1470-1471, Danish forces destroyed the house. It was reconstructed and fortified after peace was restored in 1472. During the Swedish Reformation the castle and its estate were confiscated by Gustav Vasa. In 1542, during the Dac ...
Founded: 1472 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Jät Old Church

The Old Church of Jät dates from the year 1226. The wooden sacristy was made in 1733. The external belfry was built probably in the 17th century. It was damaged by fire in 1924 and restored in 1929. The interior is richly decorated by local artist Johan Christian Zschotzscher in 1749. The crucifix dates from the late Middle Ages. There is a legend about Miss Eketrä, who was buried in the crypt. When they opened ...
Founded: 1226 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Bergkvara Castle Ruins

Bergkvara Castle had originally five floors and four corner towers. It was probably built by Arvid Trolle around 1470-1480. It was owned by his family 150 years and played an important part as a political and economical power centre. Nils Dacke, the leader of the famous peasant revolt, besieged the castle in 1542 and then attacked and burned it to the ground. The castle was left to decay until in 1794 count Arvid Eric Pos ...
Founded: 1470-1480 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Östrabo Bishop’s House

Östrabo biskopsgård (Bishop’s House) consists of main building (built 1792-1796) and four annexes. It was built by bishop Olof Wallquist.
Founded: 1792-1796 | Location: Växjö, 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.