Castles in Scania

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

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

Hovdala Castle

The oldest parts of Hovdala castle date from the 16th century, although it was first time mentioned already in the 12th century. There are so-called anchoring irons visible on the facade of one of the buildings are marked with the date 1511. Hovdala's gate tower, built in the early 1600's, served as a formidable entrance for the complex. This four-storey structure, with three-foot walls, withstood intensive fighting durin ...
Founded: ca. 1511 | Location: Hässleholm, Sweden

Landskrona Citadel

Landskrona Citadel was initially built 1549–1559 as a purely defensive fortification with two complete moats, the inner with a width of 70 metres. The outer (complete) moat is between 40 and 70 metres wide, and has cross fire bastions for artillery and guns. Outside the outer moat, a third narrower moat covers the northwest and northeast. There also exist remains of a fourth moat (between the two outer moats). The forti ...
Founded: 1549-1559 | Location: Landskrona, Sweden

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the noble ...
Founded: 1499-1506 | Location: Hammenhög, Sweden

Bosjökloster

Bosjökloster (Bosjö Abbey) was originally a nunnery, founded in 1080 by the Benedictine Order. The oldest preserved document that mentions Bosjö Abbey was written by Pope Lucius III in 1181, when he confirmed its privileges. According to local legend, the land was donated by Tord Thott, the first known ancestor of the Scanian noble family Thott. The abbey was transformed into a castle in the 16th century, a ...
Founded: 1080 | Location: Höör, Sweden

Torup Castle

Torup Castle, completed around 1540, is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Sweden. It was built by Görvel Fadersdotter (Sparre). Torup Castle was restored between 1602-1630 to the the appearance it has today. Later Torup was owned by Stjernblad and Coyet families and since 1970 the Malmö municipality. On May 21, 1775 a tragic accident occured at Torup Castle. Cornet Fredrich Trolle along with his aun ...
Founded: 1540 | Location: Svedala, Sweden

Bäckaskog Castle

Bäckaskog Castle was originally a monastery built in the 13th century. It was transformed into a castle in the 16th century. The castle is located on the isthmus between Ivö Lake (Scania's largest lake) and Oppmanna Lake. The monastery was closed down by the Danish Crown in 1537 during the Reformation. In 1584-1653, the noblemen Henrik Ramel and his son Henrik Ramel Junior gave the castle its present appearance. Today i ...
Founded: 1584-1653 | Location: Fjälkinge, Sweden

Häckeberga Castle

There has been a stronghold in Häckeberga since 1530s. It wa demolished in the 19th century and the current Häckeberga Castle was built in 1873-1875 by Tönnes Wrangel von Brehmer. Helgo Zettervall's architecture represents neo-renaissance style with French details. Today there is an countryside hotel and fine restaurant.
Founded: 1873-1875 | Location: Genarp, Sweden

Krapperup Castle

The Krapperup estate dates from medieval times, but the existing manor, except the wings, is from the 16th century. When the Podebusk family built the castle, Skåne was still part of Denmark. The seven-pointed star, which is Gyldenstierne’s coat-of-arms, was added to the facades at the beginning of the 1600s. Denmark lost Skåne to Sweden in 1658, with Krapperup’s first Swedish owner being Maria Sop ...
Founded: 1570s | Location: Höganäs, Sweden

Wånas Castle

Wanås Manor, first owned by Squire Eskild Aagesen (around 1440), has one of the most fascinating histories of all of Skåne’s stately homes. Its geographical location left Wanås vulnerable during the Swedish-Danish wars, and the original castle was burned to the ground in the Northern Seven Years’ War. A new building erected in 1566 incorporated what remained of the old one. Drawings from 1680 ...
Founded: c. 1566 | Location: Knislinge, Sweden

Marsvinsholm Castle

The Marsvinsholm estate was spoken about as Bosöe, Borsöe and Bordsyö in the beginning of the 12th century. By the middle of the 14th century it was owned by members of Ulfeld family. The possession were transferred to Otto Marsvin around 1630, who built the castle 1644-1648 and renamed it after himself. The name is derived from an Old Norse word for porpoise. The castle was in the beginning built on poles ...
Founded: 1644-1648 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Svaneholm Castle

Svaneholm Castle (Svaneholms slott) was initially erected in the 1530s by the Danish knight and royal advisor Mourids Jepsen Sparre. Original murder-holes in the oldest castle walls are still preserved. During the Middle Ages the residence was called Skurdorp (Skudrup), which was fortified and situated next to the parish church, where remains still can be seen. During the mid-15th century it was owned by guardsman Hennin ...
Founded: 1530's | Location: Skurup, Sweden

Knutstorp Castle

Knutstorp estate was first mentioned in the mid-1300s. It was owned by the powerful Danish family Brahe until 1633. In 1771 Knutstorp was sold to Fredrik Wachtmeister and it has been since owned by his family. The main building dates from the mid-1500s. It was built by Otte Brahe and is the birthplace of the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe (born 14 December 1546). After the occupation of Sweden King Carl XI ordered to stre ...
Founded: mid-1500s | Location: Kågeröd, Sweden

Christinehof Castle

Christinehof Castle was built between 1737 and 1740 in the German Baroque style. It was a residence of countess Christina Piper, who had acquired the near Andrarums ironworks couple of years earlier.
Founded: 1737-1740 | Location: Brösarp, Sweden

Övedskloster Castle

In the Middle Ages Övedskloster was a Premonstratensian monastery. In the 16th century Reformation it was moved to Danish Crown. The original castle was destroyed by fire in the beginning of the 17thc century.The current Övedskloster Castle was built in 1765-1776 by Hans Ramel. It was designed by Swedish architect Carl Hårleman. The main building represents the French Rococo style and is built of red sands ...
Founded: 1765-1776 | Location: Sjöbo, Sweden

Bollerup Castle

The Bollerup estate was first time mentioned in 1130. The castle was built in the end of 15th century. The present living quarters were built in the 1840s. It lies on an islet and is surrounded by a moat. Bollerup has been owned by several families like Thott, Gjöe and Rantzau. Today it houses the Bollerup Agricultural Institute. Guided tours of the fort, grounds, stables and church are available during the summer.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Tomelilla, Sweden

Orenäs Castle

Örenäs Castle is German Baroque style castle was raised in 1914-1918. It's now a hotel and conference centre with a public restaurant. During WWII Danish and Estonian refugees were hosted here. It's known to be the youngest castle in both Scania and Sweden.
Founded: 1914-1918 | Location: Landskrona, Sweden

Skarhult Castle

The magnificent Skarthult Castle was built in the 1560s in the Renaissance style by Sten Skarholt Rosensparre, althoughs some parts remain from the elder fortification. An earlier building on the same place is mentioned in the 1350s when Danish judge John Nielsen owned the farm. Later Skarhult castle was owned by famous noble families Brahe and De la Gardie. It was renewed in 1840s when owned by Jules von Schwer. The med ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Eslöv, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château built between 1658-1661 for Nicolas Fouquet. It was made for Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, the château was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of the 'Louis XIV style' combining architecture, interior design and landscape design. The garden's pronounced visual axis is an example of this style.

To secure the necessary grounds for the elaborate plans for Vaux-le-Vicomte’s garden and castle, Fouquet purchased and demolished three villages. The displaced villagers were then employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. It was said to have employed eighteen thousand workers and cost as much as 16 million livres. The château and its patron became for a short time a focus for fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. At the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed, along with a dinner event organized by François Vatel, and an impressive firework show.

After Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life, and his wife exiled, Vaux-le-Vicomte was placed under sequestration. The king seized, confiscated or purchased 120 tapestries, the statues, and all the orange trees from Vaux-le-Vicomte. He then sent the team of artists (Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun) to design what would be a much larger project than Vaux-le-Vicomte, the palace and gardens of Versailles.

The Marshal Villars became the new owner without first seeing the chateau. In 1764, the Marshal's son sold the estate to the Duke of Praslin, whose descendants would maintain the property for over a century. It is sometimes mistakenly reported that the château was the scene of a murder in 1847, when duke Charles de Choiseul-Praslin, killed his wife in her bedroom, but this did not happen at Vaux-le-Vicomte but at the Paris residence of the Duke.

In 1875, after thirty years of neglect, the estate was sold to Alfred Sommier in a public auction. The château was empty, some of the outbuildings had fallen into ruin, and the famous gardens were totally overgrown. The huge task of restoration and refurbishment began under the direction of the architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, assisted by the landscape architect Elie Lainé. When Sommier died in 1908, the château and the gardens had recovered their original appearance. His son, Edme Sommier, and his daughter-in-law completed the task. Today, his descendants continue to preserve the château, which remains privately owned by Patrice and Cristina de Vogüé, the Count and Countess de Vogüé. It is now administered by their three sons Alexandre, Jean-Charles and Ascanio de Vogüé. Recognized by the state as a monument historique, it is open to the public regularly.

Architecture

The chateau is situated near the northern end of a 1.5-km long north-south axis with the entrance front facing north. Its elevations are perfectly symmetrical to either side of this axis. Somewhat surprisingly the interior plan is also nearly completely symmetrical with few differences between the eastern and western halves. The two rooms in the center, the entrance vestibule to the north and the oval salon to the south, were originally an open-air loggia, dividing the chateau into two distinct sections. The interior decoration of these two rooms was therefore more typical of an outdoor setting. Three sets of three arches, those on the entrance front, three more between the vestibule and the salon, and the three leading from the salon to the garden are all aligned and permitted the arriving visitor to see through to the central axis of the garden even before entering the chateau. The exterior arches could be closed with iron gates, and only later were they filled in with glass doors and the interior arches with mirrored doors. Since the loggia divided the building into two halves, there are two symmetrical staircases on either side of it, rather than a single staircase. The rooms in the eastern half of the house were intended for the use of the king, those in the western were for Fouquet. The provision of a suite of rooms for the king was normal practice in aristocratic houses of the time, since the king travelled frequently.

Another surprising feature of the plan is the thickness of the main body of the building (corps de logis), which consists of two rows of rooms running east and west. Traditionally the middle of the corps de logis of French chateaux consisted of a single row of rooms. Double-thick corps de logis had already been used in hôtels particuliers in Paris, including Le Vau's Hôtel Tambonneau, but Vaux was the first chateau to incorporate this change. Even more unusual, the main rooms are all on the ground floor rather than the first floor (the traditional piano nobile). This accounts for the lack of a grand staircase or a gallery, standard elements of most contemporary chateaux. Also noteworthy are corridors in the basement and on the first floor which run the length of house providing privacy to the rooms they access. Up to the middle of the 17th century, corridors were essentially unknown. Another feature of the plan, the four pavilions, one at each corner of the building, is more conventional.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was originally planned to be constructed in brick and stone, but after the mid-century, as the middle classes began to imitate this style, aristocratic circles began using stone exclusively. Rather late in the design process, Fouquet and Le Vau switched to stone, a decision that may have been influenced by the use of stone at François Mansart's Château de Maisons. The service buildings flanking the large avant-cour to the north of the house remained in brick and stone, and other structures preceding them were in rubble-stone and plaster, a social ranking of building materials that would be common in France for a considerable length of time thereafter.

The main chateau is constructed entirely on a moated platform, reached via two bridges, both aligned with the central axis and placed on the north and south sides. The moat is a picturesque holdover from medieval fortified residences, and is again a feature that Le Vau may have borrowed from Maisons. The moat at Vaux may also have been inspired by the previous chateau on the site, which Le Vau's work replaced.

Gardens

The château rises on an elevated platform in the middle of the woods and marks the border between unequal spaces, each treated in a different way. This effect is more distinctive today, as the woodlands are mature, than it was in the seventeenth century when the site had been farmland, and the plantations were new.

Le Nôtre's garden was the dominant structure of the great complex, stretching nearly a mile and a half (3 km), with a balanced composition of water basins and canals contained in stone curbs, fountains, gravel walks, and patterned parterres that remains more coherent than the vast display Le Nôtre was to create at Versailles.

Le Nôtre created a magnificent scene to be viewed from the house, using the laws of perspective. Le Notre used the natural terrain to his advantage. He placed the canal at the lowest part of the complex, thus hiding it from the main perspectival point of view. Past the canal, the garden ascends a large open lawn and ends with the Hercules column added in the 19th century. Shrubberies provided a picture frame to the garden that also served as a stage for royal fêtes.

From the top of the grand staircase, this gives the impression that the entire garden is revealed in one single glance. Initially, the view consists of symmetrical rows of shrubbery, avenues, fountains, statues, flowers and other pieces developed to imitate nature – these elements exemplify the Baroque desire to mold nature to fit its wishes, thus using nature to imitate nature. The centerpiece is a large reflecting pool flanked by grottos holding statues in their many niches. The grand sloping lawn is not visible until one begins to explore the garden, when the viewer is made aware of the optical elements involved and discovers that the garden is much larger than it looks.