Medieval castles in Sweden

Uster Castle

Uster Castle was built probably around 1200 by the House of Rapperswil. After the Appenzell wars Hans von Bonstetten concluded a pact with Zürich, and became a citizen of the city of Zürich respectively claimed the so-called Burgrecht in 1407. From that moment, the castle in time of war could be strengthened by a Zürich garrison. As an Austrian vassal, Zürich guaranteed a neutral status to the Bonstetten family, ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Uster, Switzerland

Lagaholm Castle Ruins

Where the old road to Halmstad crosses Lagan lies Lagaholm’s castle ruin. Lagaholm castle was built in the 1200s and was demolished in the 1600s by order of the king, Karl XI. In the 1930s the ruins were dug out and restored. Now Sydkraft’s operating centre, salmon farm and power station lie on the area. Sydkraft’s exhibition and slide show give a historical flashback to the importance of Lagaholm during the Middle ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Laholm, Sweden

Aose Castle Ruins

Ruins of Aose Castle are located close to the port of Åhus. This fortress, probably built in the 12th century and again in 1286, was protected by a high wall and a moat spanned by a drawbridge. It was destroyed in 1569 by Duke Karl, later to become King Karl IX of Sweden, and the ruins were gradually covered by drifting sand before being excavated in the late 1800s. It has always been widely assumed that the castle ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Åhus, Sweden

Wik Castle

Wik Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Sweden. The first owner was Israel And in the end of 13th century. The current magnificent castle with seven floors was built in the late 15th century. The massive walls and moats made the stronghold impregnable. During the Middle Ages, the castle was one of the sturdiest strongholds in the Mälaren Valley, and Gustav Wasa once besieged Wik Castle for over a ...
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Näs Castle Ruins

In the 12th and 13th century, Näs (or Visingö) Castle on the southern end of Visingsö was the residence for the fragile Swedish monarchy. It was built probably by Sverker I of Sweden (died in 1156) or his son Charles VII of Sweden (Karl Sverkersson). Näs was thereby the oldest Royal castle in Sweden. It was a residence 5-6 kings before in 1318 Birger I (Birger Magnusson) pawned it to Danish. The castle ...
Founded: mid-1100s | Location: Visingsö, Sweden

Koberg Castle

The first known owner of Koberg was knight Erik Nipertz in the 15th century. Later it has been owned for example by royal Vasa and Leijonhufvud (Lewenhaupt) families. The oldest eastern part of the castle dates from the mid-1400s, the middle part from 1620s and the western part from the late 1700s. The other estate buildings were built in Neo-Romantic style in 1900-1904. Today Koberg castle is the residence of Princess D& ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Trollhättan, Sweden

Tunaborgen

Tunaborgen is a ruined former bishop castle. In 1291 Archbishop Nils Alleson mentioned a fortification on the site. The fort was also a strategic point in the Gustav Vasa"s war against the Danes. The ruins were rediscovered around 1920. The castle consisted of a square tower, a citadel, built together with an almost square walls and it was surrounded by a circular moat. Today the ground floor remains.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Österskär, Sweden

Hammersta Castle Ruins

Hammersta castle was a 13x18m wide two-storey stone building built around the year 1300 by Eringilse Nilsson, who"s father was married to a sister of Bridget of Sweden. Eringilse"s son (with the same name), was married to a Danish woman, Brita Olofsdotter Tott, and when the situation between Sweden and Denmark became tense around 1450, Tott was sentenced to death for spying for the Danes. Luckily for Brita she w ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nynäshamn, Sweden

Bergkvara Castle Ruins

Bergkvara Castle had originally five floors and four corner towers. It was probably built by Arvid Trolle around 1470-1480. It was owned by his family 150 years and played an important part as a political and economical power centre. Nils Dacke, the leader of the famous peasant revolt, besieged the castle in 1542 and then attacked and burned it to the ground. The castle was left to decay until in 1794 count Arvid Eric Pos ...
Founded: 1470-1480 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Tosterup Castle

The tower of Tosterup Castle was built in the 1400s and the main building date from the 1500s. The present appearance is date mainly from the restoration made in 1760s, when the tower was merged to the main building. The castle has been owned by several famous noble families like Brahe, Thott and Krabbe. Today Tosterup is owned by family Ehrensvärd and in private use.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Tomelilla, Sweden

Penningby Castle

Penningby Castle is one of the most well-preserved castles from the early Vasa era. Penningby Manor is first mentioned in the 1330s. To the northeast is an overgrown ruin castle with a moat, which may be the remains of a predecessor to the castle. Its earliest owners included Lord Tord Bonde, burgrave of Raasepori and margrave of Viipuri castles. In late 15th century, a fortress was built by its owners, initiated by Lady ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Örbyhus Castle

Örbyhus estate existed already in the 14th century, but the first castle was built by John Kristiernsson (Vasa) around then year 1450. It was a strong fortification with tower. Örbyhus remained in a possession of royal Vasa family until the end of 16th century. Gustav Vasa, who acquired Örbyhus through an exchange with his cousins in 1548, constructed the national fortress in the middle of Uppland complete with rampart ...
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Örbyhus, Sweden

Borgeby Castle

Borgeby Castle is built on the site of an 11th-century castle or fortress. Excavations on the site may relate it to Harald Bluetooth. It may be reconstructed similar to the Trelleborg type with a diameter of 150 meters. Construction must have been in several phases with two separate ditches. The buildings on the site burned down during the Viking time. Excavations in 1998 found evidence of a mint. This is thought to proof ...
Founded: 1100s | Location: Lomma, Sweden

Sölvesborg Castle Ruins

The history of Sölvesborg Castle dates at least from the 13th century. In 1263 Valdemar Braunschweig was the lord of Blekinge and Sölvesborg. In the early 15th century the castle was a temporary residence of Queen Margaret and King Erik Pomeranian. During the Northern Seven Years" War (1563–1570) the castle was destroyed by Swedish army. The castle was not rebuilt after that. Current manor house, call ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sölvesborg, Sweden

Almarestäkets Castle Ruins

Almarestäkets castle was built in the 1100s to protect the Sigtuna and Uppsala cities. It was also called as St. Erik"s castle after Eric IX. Throughout the Middle Ages there was a struggle between the Crown and Church who can control the castle. The castle was first mentioned in the late 1300s. In 1440 got Archbishop Nicolaus Ragvaldi permission to build a new castle, which was completed about ten years later. ...
Founded: 1440s | Location: Stäket, Sweden

Örtofta Castle

Örtofta manor was first mentioned in 1346 and it has been owned by several noble families. The original brick castle was built in the late 1400s and parts of it still remains. In 1857-1861 Henry Dücker enlarged and reconstructed Örtofta to the present appearance. Today the castle hosts a hotel and provides conference and wedding services.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Eslöv, Sweden

Lindholmen Castle Ruins

Lindholmen Castle is a former Danish fortified castle on the banks of lake Börringe. It became an important fortification in the defence of Scania during the Middle Ages because of its strong encircling defensive walls and double moats. At the time, a small river and treacherous marshes made the terrain surrounding the castle hard to navigate. Originally a private castle, it was in 1339 turned over to Magnus Eriksson ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Svedala, Sweden

Brunflo Tower

The defence tower next to the Brunflo Church dates from the 1170s and was originally part of the medieval church. The 30m high rectangular (9m x 9m) tower is an impressive and very rare structure in northern Sweden. There was also a similar tower in ruined Sunne Church. The oldest church bell in the  tower was casted in Stockholm in 1665.
Founded: 1170s | Location: Brunflo, Sweden

Olsborg Castle Ruins

Olsborg Castle, also Olofsborg, was as a fortified castle located on a steep cliff, and might previous to later use been an early hill fort. It was constructed in 1503 or 1504 by the squire Nils Ragvaldsson from Åby, after a recent Swedish attack on Viken. Most of it was destroyed shortly after, when the commander of Bohus Fortress Otto Rud attacked on Christmas night 1504. After the turmoil created by the dethrone ...
Founded: 1503-1504 | Location: Sotenäs, Sweden

Rumlaborg Castle Ruins

Rumlaborg castle was built around 1360 - the first written record dates from 1366. In 1434 it was burned down during the so-called Engelbrekt rebellion and rebuilt again in 1448 by Karl Knutsson Bonde. In the 17th century the castle lost its defensive purpose and in 1850s the site was moved as a park with pavillion.
Founded: c. 1360 | Location: Huskvarna, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.