Castles and fortifications in Denmark

Gjorslev Castle

Gjorslev is a cruciform medieval castle, originally owned by the Bishop of Roskilde. It is considered one of the most well-preserved examples of Gothic secular architecture in Denmark. Gjorslev was built in about 1400 by Peder Jensen Lodehat, Bishop of Roskilde. It remained in the possession of the Roskilde bishops until the Reformation which led to its confiscation in 1637. It was sold in 1540 and was then in the possess ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Store Heddinge, Denmark

Harridslevgaard Castle

As the only manor house in North Funen, Harridslevgaard castle near Bogense is open to visitors during the season. The castle was first mentioned in 1231 and at that time the water went right up to Harridslevgaard. According to old legend, sea pirates were residing here. However the present building is dated back to l606. For some years Harridslevgaard was whitewashed, but now it has been brought back to its original form ...
Founded: 1606 | Location: Bogense, Denmark

Jægerspris Castle

Jægerspris Castle has belonged to the Danish monarchs for most of its history which dates back to the 13th century. In the 1850s it became a retreat for King Frederik VII and his morganatic wife Countess Danner, who sought refuge there to escape the controversy their marriage had caused among the establishment in Copenhagen. After the king"s death, Countess Danner turned it into an asylum for women. Today the c ...
Founded: 1703 | Location: Jaegerspris, Denmark

Boller Castle

Boller castle was first mentioned in 1350, when it was owned by Otte Limbek (Queen Margareth's trusted man). The current main building was built in 1550-1588 and reconstructed in 1759. Today it is owned by Horsens Municipality and used as a nursing home. The beautiful park and meander along the forest road through the valley to Boller water mill is open to the public.
Founded: 1550-1588 | Location: Horsens, Denmark

Clausholm Castle

Clausholm Castle is one of Denmark's finest Baroque buildings. The castle's origins appear to go back to the 12th century but it is first mentioned in the 14th century when its owner, Lage Ovesen, was one of the leaders of the Jute uprising against Valdemar Atterdag. At the time, Clausholm was a four-winged building surrounded by a moat. But when the first Danish primeminister, Grand Chancellor Conrad von Reventlow, acqui ...
Founded: 1690s | Location: Hadsten, Denmark

Lykkesholm Castle

The history of Lykkesholm Castle dates back to the 1300s. Lykkesholm was previously known as Magelund Castle, and stood on the enormous remains of a castle dating from around 1300. In the 17th century, Lykkesholm moved to its present location on the shores of the lake. The lake was dammed and water power was used to run two mills. Previously the village of Ammendrup and its six farms lay to the south of Lykkesholm, but it ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ørbæk, Denmark

Tirsbæk Castle

Tirsbæk estate was first time mentioned in 1401. The current castle was built in 1550, while the tower and west wing were added in 1577. The park was finished in 1745, among other things with a vineyard - the oldest existing in Denmark. Since 1912, the place been owned by Algreen-Ussing family. They run Tirsbæk as a combined arm and forestry as well as rental of homes for private persons and companies. The former stable ...
Founded: 1550 | Location: Vejle, Denmark

Højriis Castle

Højriis Castle traces its history back to the beginning of the 15th century. The first known owner is Johan Skarpenberg, a knight in the service of Queen Magrethe I, who owned several other estates in the area, including Spøttrup Castle in Salling on the other side of the water. He is buried at Viborg Cathedral. In the 20th century Højriis was hit hard by the adverse times for Danish manors. The buil ...
Founded: 1859-1876 | Location: Nykobing Mors, Denmark

Flakfortet

Flakfortet, meaning sand-shoal fortress, is a sea fort located on the artificially built island of Saltholmreb. Flakfortet was the last of three artificial islands that the Danes created to defend the entrance to Copenhagen"s harbor (the other two are Trekroner Fort and Middelgrundsfortet). Eventually Flakfortet became more of a site for anti-aircraft weapons than for coastal artillery. Its military functions ended i ...
Founded: 1910–1914 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Gammel Vraa Castle

The Gammel Vraa castle was first mentioned as a royal residence in 1553. Councillor Predbjørn Gyldenstjerne bought Vraa from the Crown in 1600 and created one of North of Jutland"s grandest manors. He bred horses at the manor until in 1616 where it was inherited by his daughter Jytte who married Christian Grubbe. In 1624 she sold it to the Council of the Realm. Vraa became private property a few decades later ...
Founded: 1645 | Location: Tylstrup, Denmark

Meilgaard Castle

The estate known as Medelgård was first mentioned in 1345. The current castle dates from 1573; it was extended in 1873 and again in 1888-1891. Part of it has been converted to five private apartments. A farm building is being used as a restaurant. The castle is owned by the Iuel family. The family moved back into the castle in the autumn of 2006 after its restoration following a devastating fire on 26 February 2003, whi ...
Founded: 1573 | Location: Glesborg, Denmark

Holsteinborg Castle

Holsteinborg Castle was built by the Trolle family between 1598 and 1651, but has been owned by the Holstein family since 1707. The first count, Ulrich Adolph Holstein, established ten village schools on the estate in about 1710. The first Christmas tree in Denmark was lit at Holsteinborg in 1808, Northern Europe"s first savings bank was opened in 1810 and Denmark"s first health insurance was available in 1811. ...
Founded: 1598-1651 | Location: Rude, Denmark

Arreskov Castle

Arreskov was owned by the Crown and in 1241 Duke Abel inherited the castle from his father, King Valdemar Sejr. Some years later, the castle was captured and destroyed by his brother Erik Plovpenning. Arreskov was captured once again and destroyed in 1264 by King Erik Glipping. The present castle is third on the site, built in 1558. The castle mound is about 100 m x 35 m. The rectangular castle embankment is protected by ...
Founded: 1558 | Location: Faaborg, Denmark

Aalholm Castle

Aalholm Castle is the oldest castle on the Lolland island, first mentioned in the 1329. The castle was initially the seat of the king's vassal or lensmand, and thus the centre of local government. It is not known when the castle was founded, but for historical reasons, it was probably around 1200. During this period, a number of royal castles were built across the country to strengthen the king's power in the regions and ...
Founded: 1300-1585 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Holstenshuus Castle

Holstenshuus estate was first time mentioned in 1314. It is known as Holstenshuus since 1723, whe the estate was acquired by Christian Adolph Holsten. The oldest wing of the current castle was built in 1579 by Knud Venstermand. Two other wings date from 1643. The major restoration was made in 1863-1868 and again in 1910 after a great fire. The surrounding Rococo park (established in 1753) is open to the public.
Founded: 1579 | Location: Faaborg, Denmark

Sophienberg Castle

In 1734 architect Nicolai Eigtved suggested the Queen Sophie Magdalene to build a small recreational area to Rungsted. Eigtved started the project, a small tea pavillion. It was finished in 1744 and inaugurated on the name day of the King, May 14th. Though the queen was not content with the building and already 2 years later the castle was rebuild with a two storage building with a large copper cupola at the middle builin ...
Founded: 1746 | Location: Rungsted Kyst, Denmark

Katholm Castle

Katholm traces its history as a farm back to the 15th century and was in 1545 turned into a manor house by Christian Fasti. His son, Thomas Fasti, began the construction of today"s castle with the completion of the east wing in 1588 and the north wing in 1591. Thomas Fasti died in 1600 but his widow Christence Bryske continued to live at Katholm until her own death in 1611. They are buried in a chapel at the local Al ...
Founded: 1588-1591 | Location: Grenaa, Denmark

Frijsenborg Castle

Frijsenborg is one of Denmark"s most remarkable estastes. The impressive main building was designed between 1859 and 1867 by one of Denmark"s leading architects, Ferdinand Meldahl, for Count C. E. Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs. The Frijsenborg manor, the result of the conversion of a more modest Baroque-period house, was built in a period when Danish estates enjoyed great wealth and influence. Their prosperity caused a b ...
Founded: 1859-1867 | Location: Hammel, Denmark

Brahetrolleborg Castle

Brahetrolleborg is a castle was known as Cistercian Holme Abbey before the Reformation. The abbey was founded and settled in 1172 from the Cistercian Herrevad Abbey in Scania, now in Sweden, of which it was a daughter house. It was secularised during the Reformation, probably in 1536. After the abbey was secularised and taken into the possession of the Danish Crown, the Crown released it into private ownership. In 1568 i ...
Founded: 1172 | Location: Faaborg, Denmark

Ulstrup Castle

Ulstrup Castle traces its history back to the end of the 14th century when it was owned by Jens Brandsen. Later owners include Queen Margaret I but the original house later disappeared and Ulstrup continued to exist as a village. It was acquired by privy councilor Christen Skeel in 1579 and dissolved to make way for his new manor house which was built in 1591. The building was expanded between 1615 and 1617 by his son, J& ...
Founded: 1591 | Location: Ulstrup, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint Sophia Cathedral

The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.

The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.

The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.

There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).

The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.