Medieval castles 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

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

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

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

St. Peter's Priory

St. Peter's Priory (Sankt Peters Klosters kyrka) was one of Denmark's early monastic houses. It was established before 1166 during the tenure of Eskil, Archbishop of Lund, for Benedictine nuns. It was originally dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Peter, but by 1200 it was simply referred to as St. Peter's Priory. The original church was built in the latter half of the 1160s of sandstone with the rounded arches of the Roman ...
Founded: 1160s | Location: Lund, 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

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

Nyköping Castle

Nyköping Castle is a medieval castle from the Birger Jarl era, partly in ruins. The castle is mostly known for the ghastly Nyköping Banquet which took place here in 1317. The construction of the castle began in the end of the 12th century, when it began as a fortification. It is thought Birger Jarl expanded the building to a larger castle. During the reign of Albert of Sweden the castle was held as a fief by the German ...
Founded: 1317 | Location: Nyköping, 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

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

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

Kronoberg Castle Ruins

Kronoberg Castle is a medieval ruin located on an island in lake Helgasjön. In 1444 Lars Mikaelson, the bishop of Växjö, built a stone building on the lakeshore. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1470-1471, Danish forces destroyed the house. It was reconstructed and fortified after peace was restored in 1472. During the Swedish Reformation the castle and its estate were confiscated by Gustav Vasa. In 1542, during the Dac ...
Founded: 1472 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Ragnhildsholmen

Ragnhildsholmen was a medieval castle built by Håkon Håkonsson (Haakon IV) of Norway around the year 1250. The castle was first time mentioned in 1275. In 1304 it was donated to duke Erik in 1304 and saw the power struggle between Swedish Kings Birger and Magnus III. After the near Bohus Fortress completed, Ragnhildsholmen lost its purpose. It was demolished and stones were probably used to build Bohus. Today ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Kungälv, Sweden

Stegeborg Castle Ruins

The remains of the Stegeborg castle are situated beautifully on a little island in the sea channel leading toward Söderköping. In the Middle Ages the castle was one of the most important strongholds in Sweden and also a royal palace. The oldest parts of the castle is a brick tower in the southeast corner, built in the early 13th century. In the 18th century the castle was in bad shape and some wooden buildings ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Söderköping, Sweden

Torpa Stenhus

Torpa stenhus is a well preserved medieval castle near Åsunden. The first stone house was built around 1470 by Privy Council Arvid Knutsson as fortress against the Danes. Reconstruction and remodeling took during the 1500s and 1600s. In the late 1500s the castle was enlarged and modernized: the 4th floor was added, the tower was erected and halls were decorated with beautiful paintings. The castle has still today a well- ...
Founded: 1470 | Location: Länghem, Sweden

Stegeholm Castle Ruins

Stegeholm's Castle Ruin is located on Slottsholmen by the mouth of Gamlebyviken. The oldest notes about Stegeholms castle are from the 14th century. It was probably built before 1370 by Albert II, Duke of Mecklenburg (the father of King Albert of Sweden). The castle was destroyed by fire in 1517 and rebuilt in 1521. In 1612 it was conquered by Danish. The final destruction appeared in 1677 when Stegeholm was destroyed by ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Västervik, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.