Medieval castles in 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

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

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

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

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

Smedstorp Castle

Smedstorp Castle was owned by noble family Bing between 1313-1589. Later it has been a residence of families Quitzow, Bülow and Kruus. The present main building was originally the great hall of the castle built in the 16th century. Today there is no more remains of the original castle. Smedstorp is not open to the public.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Smedstorp, 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

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

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

Vallen Castle Ruins

Vallen (or Isengrim) was one of the largest medieval castles in Scania. It was probably built in the 13th century, but its history is widely unknown. The castle hill is surrounded by moat the castle hill is over 40m wide and 12m high.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tomelilla, 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

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

Örup Castle

Örup Castle was completed around the year 1500. Together with Glimmingehus, Bollerup and Tosterup, the castles were built as defenses in an uncertain and dangerous time, when the Swedes and Danes fought over power and lords believed they must protect their own soil against both external enemies. Örup was first mentioned in 1437 when it was owned by Danish family Qvitzow. Later it has been a residence of Flemmin ...
Founded: ca. 1500 | 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

Dynge Castle Ruins

Dynge Castle, also Dyngehus as it was once called, was a Norwegian fortified castle in use from approximately 1250 and onwards towards the beginning of the 16th century, when it burnt down. Located in central Bohuslän, since then passed into Swedish possession, the castle was mentioned several times in Norwegian records. The site was excavated 1912-1913 by Wilhelm Berg, who had also excavated the contemporary and lar ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Uddevalla, Sweden

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

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

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

Lillö Castle Ruins

Lillö Castle was built in in the 14th century among the natural defences offered by the inaccessible marshlands and the River Helge å. The first known owner was Åke Axelsson (Tott) in 1343. The castle belonged to Tott, Trolle and Huitfeldt families until it was destroyed in 1658–59. Today, displays inside the castle based on the finds made during various archaeological digs reflect life here in days ...
Founded: c. 1343 | Location: Kristianstad, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Ananuri Castle

Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles. The current ensemble dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.

Architecture

The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.

Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.

The larger Church of the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine crosson the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century.