Ancient sites in Sweden

Torsbo Rock Carvings

There are over 100 rock carvings depicting rich and wide variation of themes in Torsbo, including the longest boat carving in Sweden (4,5m). There are also figures of a tree, and several warriors carrying swords. Many of the warriors are depicted as having enlarged calves, a feature that is typical for this area. It cannot be rulled out that several of the carvings were made by the same person. The carvings as a whole hav ...
Founded: 1800-1500 BC | Location: Tanum, Sweden

Broborg Castle

Broborg is one of Uppland's most magnificent ancient strongholds, strategically placed on a ridge along the former seaway, the "highway" of its day, that led Vikings to Old Uppsala and the Baltic Sea. The castle was built on a high hill, about 40 m above sea level. The castle was used between 6th and 11th centuries. The castle had an outer and inner wall. The outer wall protected the longest sides to the south and east.T ...
Founded: 500-1000 AD | Location: Knivsta, Sweden

Getterön Burial Ground

There are five big tumuli (burial mounds) in Getterön. The graves date probably from the Bronze Age (1500 - 500 BC).
Founded: 1500 - 500 BC | Location: Varberg, Sweden

Gnisvärd Ship Settings

Therea are three ancient ship-formed graves in Gnisvärd. All of them are set in line, as if out sailing together. The largest one is 45 metres long and 7 metres wide. That makes it the biggest ship setting on Gotland. Graves were made in the Bronze Ages, 1700-500 BC.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Gnisvärd, Sweden

Granhogen

Granhogen is one of the largest prehistorical mounds in Bohuslän region. The 30m wide and 3,3m high mound has been dated to Iron Ages, c. 500 AD.
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Uddevalla, Sweden

Ottarshögen

Ottarshögen is an large burial mound built in the 6th or 7th century AD. According the folk legend, it is a grave of ancient Ottar Vendelkråka, the king of Svealand in the early 6th century. Archaeologists have anyway dated it to the Vendel Period. The mound is 37m wide and 6m high.
Founded: 500-600 AD | Location: Örbyhus, Sweden

Hagbard's Gallow

Hagbard's Gallow consists of two pair of menhirs, large upright standing stones. The monument was probably constructed during the bronze age. The stone has engravings, some discovered in the 18th Century and some in modern times. The name is related to the legend of Hagbard and Signy, as well as several other nearby remains.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Falkenberg, Sweden

Hulterstad Viking Burial Ground

Hulterstad has served as a Viking burial ground. Noteworthy graveyards can be found there, together with the usual Viking structure - the burial ship. It stands a few meters away from the Hulterstad Church, which is believed to be as old as the graveyard. The burial ground comprises over 170 individual burials but only one stone ship, which is also partially damaged. Hulterstad is situated on the western fringe of the Sto ...
Founded: 800-1000 AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Sweden

Tisselskog Rock Carvings

The rock carvings at Högsbyn, Tisselskog are Dalsland’s largest and most extraordinary ancient site and also one of the largest in the country. The carvings are situated in a beautiful natural setting, also a nature reserve. The site includes more than 50 rock areas with more than 2,500 Bronze-Age carvings. 3,000 years ago these symbols were chipped into the soft stone and it is believed that Högsbyn was a sacred loc ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Tisselskog, 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

Rödsten

Rödsten (The Red Stone) is one of the most significant ancient monuments in Sweden. The fallos-style setting contains three stones painted with red, white and black. Rödsten dates probably from the 6th century and it has probably been erected to protect surrounding farms from the fire and depletion. The first record of Rödsten date from 1360. According the legend the stone have to be painted every year an ...
Founded: 6th century | Location: Åtvidaberg, Sweden

Gannarve Ship Grave

The Gannarve grave is outlined by large standing stones, forming the shape of a ship. It has been built at the end of the Bronze Age, about 1100 – 500 B.C. The grave is 29 metres long and 5 metres wide. It is only one of about 350 boat-shaped graves on the island. In most cases, only one burial has been uncovered in each grave. When these people were buried, it was a custom to cremate the dead on a pyre. After crema ...
Founded: 1100-500 BC | Location: Gotland, Sweden

Möckleryd Rock Carvings

There are 140 rock carvings in Möckleryd and it is the largest rock art site in Blekinge dating probably from the Bronze Age. There are mainly boats, horses, people and elks described in carvings.
Founded: 1700-550 BC | Location: Torhamn, Sweden

Torsburgen Fortress

Torsburgen was the largest ancient fortress in Northern Europe. It was originally constructed at the beginning of the 1st century AD. It was reinforced during the 4th century and used until c. 1100 AD. A timber-laced stone rampart encircles an area of 12 hectares. Scholars estimate that nearly 1000 soldiers would have been needed to defend it and it could have been providing refuge to the entire population of Gotland that ...
Founded: 100-1100 AD | Location: Katthammarsvik, Sweden

Halvardsborg

Halvardsborg was an ancient stronghold in Arboga. It was built probably between 400-550 AD. It consisted of 520m long and even 3m high stone wall. There are some remains of the wall today.
Founded: 400-550 AD | Location: Arboga, Sweden

King Skute's mound

King Skute's mound, dating from the Late Iron Age, 500-1100 AD, is the largest of a total of six mounds. The site consists of raised stones and intriguing so-called hollows. According to tradition, King Skute was the founder of the village of Skuttunge.
Founded: 500-1100 AD | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Gärde Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs on the river of Gärdesån in Gärde were made approximately 7 000 years ago. The carvings consist primely of moose and belong to the oldest petroglyphs in Sweden.
Founded: 7000 - 2000 BC | Location: Offerdal, Sweden

Släbro Rock Carvings

Släbro is without question one of Sweden’s greatest and most remarkable rock carvings site. Situated near the River of Nyköping the carvings were discovered 1984 and can be dated back to the Bronze Age. They are unique because they are carved in a most unusual way. There are etchings on some ten different surfaces with a total of some 700 figures, mainly frame and circle figures. Many are unique in design, in particul ...
Founded: 1800-400 BC | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Gåseborg Hill Fort

Gåseborg was an magnificient ancient hill fort built in the Iron Age, about 1500 years ago. It was built of stone without any masonry. According the archaeological excavations the fort has been also a temporary residence. For example remains of golden artefacts have been found from the site.
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Viksjö, Sweden

Högom Grave Field

Högom is a grave field dating from the Iron Age (c. 500 AD). The area 315x190m and consists of 10 mounds. Four of them have diameter of 40m and they are 4-5m high. On the southern side is also an Viking Age runestone, so-called Högomstenen. The cross in stone refers to early Christian influence in the area.
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Högom, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.