Rock carvings and paintings

Alta Rock Carvings

The Rock Drawings of Alta constitute the most important piece of evidence in favour of the existence of human activity in the confines of the Great North during the prehistoric period. Studied from 1967, the petroglyphs of the Alta fjord in the province of Tromsø were immediately classed among the leading rock art sites in the world. Close to the Arctic Circle, they are a valuable illustration of human activity bet ...
Founded: 4200-500 BC | Location: Alta, Norway

Cave of Niaux

The Cave of Niaux contains many prehistoric paintings of superior quality from the Magdalenian period. It is one of the most famous decorated prehistoric caves in Europe still open to the public. The paintings had been emerging on the cave walls during a long period between 11500 and 10500 years BC. From the very beginning of the seventeenth century the cave was of great interest for tourists, who left numerous traces on ...
Founded: 11500 BC | Location: Niaux, France

Rock Carvings in Tanum

One of the largest rocks of Nordic Bronze Age petroglyphs in Scandinavia is located in Tanumshede locality, Tanum Municipality. In total there are thousands of images called the Tanum petroglyphs, on about 600 panels within the World Heritage Area. These are concentrated in distinct areas along a 25 km stretch, which was the coastline of a fjord during the Bronze Age, and covers an area of about 51 hectares. Tanumshede ro ...
Founded: 1800-500 BC | Location: Tanum, Sweden

Backa Rock Carvings

Backa rock carvings date back to the Bronze Age (1000-500 BC). There are sixteen separate carvings depicting humans and ships. The most famous carving depicts a 1,5m long man with a spear.
Founded: 1000 - 500 BC | Location: Lysekil, Sweden

Himmelstalund Rock Carvings

Himmelstalund is a large park famous for having one of Sweden's biggest collection of petroglyphs with more than 1660 pictures. Some of the depicted boats having a similar shape as the Hjortspring boat. Oldest features have been dated to the transition between the Late ­Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age (1920­1740 BC).
Founded: 1900 BC | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Rickeby Rock Carvings

Rickeby is known of its Bronze Age rock carvings. The area contains about 50 carvings displaying for example humans and animals.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Austre Åmøy Rock Carvings

In Austre Åmøy, specifically at the Meling farm, you can find the largest concentration of rock carvings in Rogaland. There are several fields in the area, with both large and small rock carvings. The largest petroglyph fields are prepared and signposted to the public, while the smaller fields are not accessible to visitors. On sloping rocks lies artwork carved by human hand 2000-3000 years ago. In Austre &A ...
Founded: 1000 BC - 0 AD | Location: Austre Åmøy, Norway

Järrestad Rock Carvings

There are over 1200 rock carvings near the road from Järrestad to Gladsax. Carvings date from the late Stone Age and Bronze Age and depicts animals, ships, footprints and humans. There are also three mounds from the late Bronze Age.
Founded: 2000 - 1700 BC | Location: Simrishamn, Sweden

Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings

The 65 rock paintings of Astuvansalmi are the largest found in the whole of Scandinavia. The oldest paintings are made 3000 - 2500 BC. They are located at the highest level (about 11 metres). The water level changed very fast about 2,5 metres with the landslide of Vuoksi. Later on the level slowly went down 8 metres to its present level. All the later paintings have been made from boats during the different historical wat ...
Founded: 3000 - 2500 BC | Location: Ristiina, Finland

Slagsta Rock Carvings

The rock carvings in Slagsta are the largest in Stockholm County. Rock carvings from the Bronze Age consists of 17 ships, three animal figures, a sole, 2-3 indeterminate figures, around 170 cup marks and a human figure. The human figure is characteristically designed legs with strong calves. During the same is a shallow carved ship depicted. The total machined surface is 4.8 x 3.3 meters. Slagsta inscription discovered S ...
Founded: 1800-500 BC | Location: Botkyrka, Sweden

Torsbo Rock Carvings

There are over 100 rock carvings depicting rich and wide variation of themes in Torsbo, including the longest boat carving in Sweden (4,5m). There are also figures of a tree, and several warriors carrying swords. Many of the warriors are depicted as having enlarged calves, a feature that is typical for this area. It cannot be rulled out that several of the carvings were made by the same person. The carvings as a whole hav ...
Founded: 1800-1500 BC | Location: Tanum, Sweden

Värikallio Rock Paintings

The Hossa Värikallio rock paintings are amongst the largest prehistoric rock paintings in Finland. The pictures on the rock wall rising from Lake Somerjärvi were painted in the Stone Age, i.e. about 3,500 - 4,500 years ago.Paintings were painted from a boat or when standing on the ice of the lake. On the surface of the rock wall there are 61 separate figures depicting scenes of hunting and shamanic rituals. The ...
Founded: 3000-100 B.C | Location: Suomussalmi, Finland

Möckleryd Rock Carvings

There are 140 rock carvings in Möckleryd and it is the largest rock art site in Blekinge dating probably from the Bronze Age. There are mainly boats, horses, people and elks described in carvings.
Founded: 1700-550 BC | Location: Torhamn, Sweden

Gärde Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs on the river of Gärdesån in Gärde were made approximately 7 000 years ago. The carvings consist primely of moose and belong to the oldest petroglyphs in Sweden.
Founded: 7000 - 2000 BC | Location: Offerdal, Sweden

Siega Verde

Siega Verde is an archaeological site in Serranillo, Villar de la Yegua. It was joined to the Côa Valley Paleolithic Art site in the World Heritage List in 2010. The site consists of a series of rock carvings, discovered in 1988 by professors Manuel Santoja, during an inventory campaign of archaeological sites in the valley of the Águeda river. Subjects include equids, aurochs, deer and goats, among the most com ...
Founded: 18000 BCE | Location: Villar de la Yegua, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.