Castles and fortifications in Sweden

Malmö Castle

Malmö Castle (Malmöhus) was founded in 1434 by King Eric of Pomerania. This structure was demolished in early 16th century. The castle acquired its present appearance following major reconstruction in the 1530’s, when King Christian III ordered the building of a modern fortress, splendid Renaissance castle and county governor´s residence, all on the one site. Historically, this fortress was one of th ...
Founded: 1434 | Location: Malmö, 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

Gripsholm Castle

Gripsholm Castle is regarded as one of Sweden's finest historical monuments. A fortress was built at the location around 1380 by Bo Jonsson Grip, and belonged to his family until the confiscation of mansions and castles by King Gustav I in 1526. The King tore it down, and built a fortified castle with circular corner towers and a wall, for defensive purposes. Of the original medieval fortress, only the façade of a ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Mariefred, Sweden

Örebro Castle

For over 700 years Örebro Castle has kept a watchful eye on everyone crossing the bridge on the River Svartån. The oldest part of the castle, a defence tower, was erected in the latter half of the 13th century. This tower was added to in the 14th century to make a larger stronghold. The castle was expanded during the reign of the royal family Vasa between 1573-1627 to the impressive Renaissance castle. After Vasa famil ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Örebro, Sweden

Uppsala Castle

Uppsala Castle is a 16th century royal castle in the historical city of Uppsala. Throughout much of its early history, the castle played a major role in the history of Sweden. It was built during the time Sweden was on its way to become a great power in Europe. King Gustav Vasa began construction of Uppsala Castle in 1549. Kings Erik XIV, John III and Charles IX all remodeled and expanded the citadel into a representativ ...
Founded: 1549 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Kastellet

Kastellet is a small citadel located on the islet Kastellholmen. The first fortification on the location was built in 1667 designed by Erik Dahlbergh. It exploded in June 1845 and subsequently a new was built 1846-1848 to the design of architect Fredrik Blom. It consists of a round tower with red brick walls and a 20 meter high stair tower. On the top flies the Military Ensign of Sweden, it is hoisted and lowered every da ...
Founded: 1846-1848 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Powder Tower

The so-called Powder Tower (Kruttornet) is the oldest monument in Visby. It was built in the 12th century to protect the harbour. There was initially no door in the tower, but only a small entrance in 10 meters high. Defenders used ladders to climb up to the entrance. Today 25 meter high tower is open to the public in summer season.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Bohus Fortress

Bohus Fortress construction began in 1308 under King Haakon V Magnuson, king of Norway from 1299 until 1319. At the time Bohuslän was Norwegian territory and it served as a main Norwegian defence against Sweden along the coast as well as the strong point for the Bohuslän region from 1308 until 1658. According to architect Guthorm Kavli, by 1310 records show it was constructed, as normal for that period, out of ...
Founded: 1308 | Location: Kungälv, Sweden

Skansen Kronan

Skansen Kronan is a redoubt built in the later half of the 17th century according to the plans of Erik Dahlberg. Skansen Kronan was introduced in 1698 and was fitted with 23 guns. The roof was not completed until 1700. Skansen has 4-5 metre thick walls made of granite, gneiss and diabase. Skansen Kronan was never attacked and the cannons on the inside have never been used. The fortress and the twin counterpart, Skansen L ...
Founded: 1698 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Borgholm Castle

Borgholm Castle is today only a ruin of the fortress that was first built in the second half of the 12th century and many times rebuilt in later centuries. The construction of the original fortress was probably ordered by king Canute I (1167-1195), who ordered fortresses to be built on the Swedish east coast as defence against enemies from the other side of the Baltic Sea. During the 13th to 15th centuries, additions and ...
Founded: 1654, originally in 1100s | Location: Borgholm, Öland, Sweden

Visby City Wall

The City wall of Visby (Swedish: Visby ringmur) is an old medieval defensive wall surrounding the city. The building of ringwall was probably started in the 13th century. Around 1280 it was rebuilt to reach its current height, along with the addition of its characteristic towers (although some towers were not constructed until the 15th century) It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Visby. The war in 1288 betwe ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Linköping Castle

Linköping Castle is Sweden"s oldest profane building. The oldest part, west wing, dates from the 12th century. Currently the residence of the County Governor of Östergötland, the castle has been home to governors and bishops since the 13th century. The most famous bishop to live in castle was probably Hans Brask, Sweden"s last Catholic bishop. The Linköping Bloodbath, the public execution by ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Linköping, Sweden

Kalmar Castle

The first defensive construction, a round tower, was built on Kalmarsund in the 12th century concurrently with the harbour. At the end of the 13th century King Magnus Ladulås had a new fortress built with a curtain wall, round corner towers and two square gatehouses surrounding the original tower. Located near the site of Kalmar's medieval harbor, it has played a crucial part in Swedish history since its initial construc ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kalmar, Sweden

Carlsten

Carlsten is a stone fortress built on the orders of King Carl X of Sweden following the Treaty of Roskilde, 1658 to protect the newly acquired province of Bohuslän from hostile attacks. The site of Marstrand was chosen because of its location and its access to an ice free port. Initially a square stone tower was constructed, but by 1680 it was reconstructed and replaced by a round shaped tower. Successive additions to th ...
Founded: 1658 | Location: Marstrand, Sweden

Vadstena Castle

Vadstena Castle was originally built by King Gustav I in 1545 as a fortress to protect Stockholm from enemies from the south. The fortress consisted of three smaller stone buildings facing the lake, Vättern, three 31 meter wide ramparts, a courtyard, a moat and four circular cannons turrets. The original ramparts were torn down in the 19th century and the present ramparts were inaugurated in 1999. The stone buildings ...
Founded: 1545 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Vaxholm Castle

Vaxholm Castle was originally constructed by Gustav Vasa in 1544 to defend Stockholm against shipborne attacks from the east, but most of the current structure dates from 1833-1863. The stretch of water below the building was formerly the main sea route to Stockholm. Thus, the fortress was strategically situated to defend the city from naval attacks. The castle was attacked by the Danes in 1612 and the Russian navy in 171 ...
Founded: 1544, 1833-1863 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Varberg Fortress

Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305. King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håka ...
Founded: 1287-1300 | Location: Varberg, Sweden

Västerås Castle

Västerås Castle was built in the 13th century. The castle taken over by Gustav Vasa was in poor condition after battles and sieges so during the middle of the 16th century he altered and extended it. In 1544 the government gave the Crown Prince, Prince Erik, his own quarters in the castle, “The Young Man’s Apartment”. Later the castle was to be his prison. From 14 June 1573 to 16 October 1574 Erik XIV was impriso ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Västerås, Sweden

Läckö Castle

Brynolf Algotsson, Bishop of Skara, laid the foundations for a fortified castle in Läckö in 1298 originally as a fort that consisted of two or three houses surrounded by a wall. After a fire during the 1470s, the fort was expanded by bishop Brynolf Gerlachsson. After the reformation in 1527, King Gustav Vasa took possession. Field Marshal Jacob Pontusson De la Gardie was granted the property in 1615. Field Mars ...
Founded: 1298 | Location: Lidköping, Sweden

Alnarp Castle

Alnarp Castle was originally built in the 12th century. In 1325 Alnarp came into the possession of a knight named Anders Pedersen, and then Aage Nielsen Ulfeldt in the early 15th century. In 1449, Alnarp passed into the ownership of Niels Stigsen Thott. The Ulfeldt and the Thott families were members of the Scanian nobility. The castle eventually passed to the Krummedige family, and in 1500 it was owned by Erik Krummedige ...
Founded: 1862 | Location: Lomma, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lednice Castle

The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.