Medieval castles in Sweden

Telge Hus

Telge Hus, also known as Ragnhildsborg, was a medieval castle. The first castle, probably built in the early 1300s, was burnt down in 1445 and the new castle built in 1448.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Södertälje, 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

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

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

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

Göksholm Castle

Göksholm is the oldest privately-owned building in Sweden that has been continuously inhabited.In the middle ages Göksholm was just a fortified castle with a large tower. Its oldest existent parts have been dated to the 13th century. It was built (rebuilt and enlarged) during the Middle Ages through six different stages.After a fire at the end of the 16th century, the building was modernized according to that pe ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stora Mellösa, 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

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

Thorberg Castle

Thorberg Castle is a former Carthusian monastery, or charterhouse, now a prison, located in Krauchthal. Of the castle of the von Thorberg family, first documented in 1175, there remain only fragments of the foundations of the tower. The family died out in 1397 with Peter von Thorberg, the last knight: he bequeathed his many estates to the Carthusians, who converted the castle into a Carthusian monastery (or charterhouse). ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Krauchthal, Switzerland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.