Ancient sites in 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

Trullhalsar Burial Field

Trullhalsar is a very well-preserved and restored burial field dating back to the Roman Iron Ages (0-400 BC). There are over 340 different kind of graves like round stones ("judgement rings"), ship settings, tumuli and a viking-age picture stone (700 AD).
Founded: 0-400 AD | Location: Katthammarsvik, Sweden

Skegriedösen Dolmen

Skegriedösen is a well-preserved stone chamber tomb surrounded by seventeen stones. The dolmen is set to be around 4500-5000 years old.
Founded: 3000 - 2500 BC | Location: Trelleborg, 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

Grönehög Mound

Grönehög is the biggest ancient mound in Bohuslän region. It has a diameter of 45-50m and it is 6m high. Archaeologists have found buried items from the mound dating from the 6th century AD.
Founded: 500 BC | Location: Strömstad, 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

Sandby Borg

Sandby borg is a ringfort, one of at least 15 on the island of Öland. It sits about 2 kilometers southeast of Södra Sandby village in Sandby parish. From 2010 the fort has been subject of excavation that has revealed that it was the site of a 5th Century AD massacre. The fort included 53 buildings, consisting of small, one-family houses in the middle and stables and storehouses closer to the walls. Sandby Borg is on ...
Founded: c. 480 AD | Location: Sandby, Sweden

Håga Mound

The Håga Mound (Hågahögen) or King Björn's Mound is one of the most magnificent remains from the Nordic Bronze Age. Håga mound is approximately 7 metres high and 45 metres across and it was constructed ca 1000 B.C. by the shore of a narrow inlet of the sea (the land has been continually rising since the Ice Age). It was constructed of turfs that had been laid on top of a cairn which was built o ...
Founded: ca. 1000 BC | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Luttra Passage Grave

The Neolithic passage grave (a tomb where the burial chamber is reached along a distinct, and usually low, passage) of Luttra is one of the best preserved of its kind in Västergötland. Still time has not been acting too gracious on this site, this ancient tomb is damaged and even partly destroyed. It only has one roofblock left, and the passage is just a metre long - it originally used to be longer. But it is, n ...
Founded: ca. 3400 BC | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Mysinge Burial Ground

There are three so-called passage graves lying only a couple of hundred meters from the hamlet Mysinge. A passage grave is a grave that is built of enormous stone blocks and surrounded by a cairn. The passage graves in Mysinge lie on the land ridge with openings facing southwest. The grave that has been described here has been excavated several times. It has been established that at least 30-40 persons were buried in the ...
Founded: 3500 BC - 900AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Öland, Sweden

Runsa Hill Fort

Runsa was a prehistoric hill fortification, strategically situated on a 30 meter high rock promontory in Lake Mälaren. The ancient fort covers an area of 200 x 100 meters. The site was excavated first in 1902 with the participation of Crown Prince Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden. It was later investigated by archaeologists in 1992. Below the ruins is a stone ship burial area with some 30 graves. The burial ground is made up o ...
Founded: 400-500 AD | Location: Upplands Väsby, Sweden

Rickeby Rock Carvings

Rickeby is known of its Bronze Age rock carvings. The area contains about 50 carvings displaying for example humans and animals.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Enköping, 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

Bårby Borg

Bårby Borg was an ancient hill fortification. It was built in two periods, first in the age of migrations and later in the Middle Ages. Bårby Borg is the only hill fort in Öland where a natural steep scarp was used as part of the fortification. The other sides were protected by stone wall. The diameter was approximately 150 meters. Archaeologists have found a gold coin from the ruins made in Byzantine E ...
Founded: 400 AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Sweden

Seby Burial Ground

Seby is one of the largest burial grounds in Öland including 285 graves and stone settings. It was founded in the Roman Iron Age and used until the Viking Ages. The site consists for example of stone ship settings, cairns and tridents. There is a significant runestone located one kilometer to the south of Seby. The inscription says “Ingjald, Näf and Sven let to erect this stone as a memorial to their fa ...
Founded: 300-500 AD | Location: Degerhamn, 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

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

Klastorp Mounds

There are two megalithic tombs in Klastorp, dating from the late Stone Age (2500-2300 BC). The larger one consists of the dolmen and a stone circle.
Founded: 2500-2300 BC | Location: Varberg, Sweden

Glösa Rock Carvings

The rock carvings in Glösa were described as early as 1685. The carvings are estimated to be 6200 – 5500 years old. Some 60 figures – all depicting elks – were carved into the rocks surrounding the stream by prehistoric trappers. It is believed that the petroglyphs of Glösa could be 3000-4000 years older than the oldest known rock carvings in southern Sweden, which were made by farmers during t ...
Founded: 6200 - 5500 BC | Location: Krokom, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.