Medieval castles in Denmark

Jungshoved Castle Ruins

The royal castle of Jungshoved was mentioned in 1231. The annexed church dates from the same period. The castle is thought to have been built as early as in the 1100s as part of King Valdemar I"s coastal defences against the Wends (Baltic Slavs). The castle is strategically located at the mouth of Skibbinge Cove. Jungshoved may also have been implicated in the monarch"s control of the herring market at Falsterbo ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Praesto, Denmark

Tårnborg Castle Ruins

Tårnborg Castle was a royal medieval castle. It consisted of a central tower of 8m x 8m, surrounded by a square outer wall. An excavation in the castle courtyard in 1894 also revealed the remains of three small houses. The castle stood from about 1231 up to the last part of the 14th century when a new castle in Korsør took over Tårnborg"s role. From written sources we know that the castle was captu ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Korsør, 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

Asserbo Castle Ruins

Asserbo Castle was founded by Bishop Absalon in the 1100s as a monastery for monks of the Carthusian Order. The castle was taken over first by the King around 1560 and in subsequent centuries by drifting sand. The castle was liberated from the sand in two phases: initially by King Frederik VII in 1849 and then by National Museum excavations in 1972.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Frederiksværk, Denmark

Vaeggerløse Church

In the Middle Ages the Vaeggerløse church was dedicated to St Olaf. The chancel and nave from the late Romanesque period were built in brick on a profiled plinth with pilaster strips on the corners. The chancel's pilaster strips now only remain on its southwest corner. Originally there was also an apse which was torn down but later replaced during the restoration work in 1861 by the Hamburg architect Ernst Heinrich Glüe ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Væggerløse, Denmark

Søborg Castle Ruins

Søborg Castle, in its heyday, was the strongest castle in Denmark, and was also used as a prison. It was inhabited until the Count"s Feud in 1535, when it is speculated that it was destroyed. In 1577, the feudal tenant was granted permission to use the ruins as a quarry. Søborg Castle is first known from the 12th century, when ownership of the castle passed from the king to the bishop of Roskilde. Trad ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gilleleje, Denmark

Brarup Church

Brarup Church is an annex to Kippinge Church as it has been since before the Reformation. There is little information about ownership in the Middle Ages apart from the fact that the Crown had calling rights for the appointment of clergy. In 1585, the church owned factories and land strips on three farms. After the Reformation, the church was owned by the Crown until it was auctioned into private ownership in 1767 but by 1 ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nørre Alslev, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.