Tycho Brahe

Knutstorp Castle

Knutstorp estate was first mentioned in the mid-1300s. It was owned by the powerful Danish family Brahe until 1633. In 1771 Knutstorp was sold to Fredrik Wachtmeister and it has been since owned by his family. The main building dates from the mid-1500s. It was built by Otte Brahe and is the birthplace of the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe (born 14 December 1546). After the occupation of Sweden King Carl XI ordered to stre ...
Founded: mid-1500s | Location: Kågeröd, Sweden

Stjerneborg Observatory

Stjerneborg (Star Castle) was Tycho Brahe's underground observatory next to his palace-observatory Uraniborg, located on the island of Hven in Oresund. Tycho Brahe built it circa 1581. He writes: "My purpose was partly to have placed some of the most important instruments securely and firmly in order that they should not be exposed to the disturbing influence of the wind, and should be easier to use, partly to separate my ...
Founded: ca. 1581 | Location: Sankt Ibb, Sweden

Uraniborg Observatory Ruins

Uranienborg (Uraniborg) was a Danish astronomical observatory operated by Tycho Brahe. It was built circa 1576-1580. Shortly after its construction the observatory was expanded with an underground facility, Stjerneborg, on an adjacent site. The building was dedicated to Urania, the Muse of Astronomy and named Uranienborg, "The Castle of Urania." It was the first custom-built observatory, and the last to be built without a ...
Founded: 1576 | Location: Sankt Ibb, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Barnenez Cairn

The Cairn of Barnenez is the largest Megalithic mausoleum in Europe. It dates from the early Neolithic Age is considered one of the earliest megalithic monuments in Europe. It is also remarkable for the presence of megalithic art. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the first phase of the monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC, and the second phase between 4450 and 4000 BC. Pottery found in and around the monument indicates that it underwent a period of reuse in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC.

The cairn was first mapped in 1807, in the context of the Napoleonic cadaster. Its first scientific recognition took place in the context of an academic congress in Morlaix in 1850, when it was classified as a tumulus. Privately owned until the 1950s, the cairn was used as a quarry for paving stones. This activity, which threatened to destroy the monument, was only halted after the discovery of several of its chambers in the 1950s. The local community then took control of the site. The cairn was restored between 1954 and 1968. At the same time, vegetation was removed from the mound and systematic excavation took place in and around the monument.

Today, the Barnenez cairn is 72 m long, up to 25 m wide and over 8 m high. It is built of 13,000 to 14,000 tons of stone. It contains 11 chambers entered by separate passages. The mound has steep facades and a stepped profile. Several internal walls either represent earlier facades or served the stability of the structure. The cairn consists of relatively small blocks of stone, with only the chambers being truly megalithic in character. The monument overlooks the Bay of Morlaix, probably a fertile coastal plain at the time of its erection.

Engraved symbols occur in several of the chambers and passages. They depict bows, axes, wave symbols or snakes and a repeated U-shaped sign. One of the carved slabs is in secondary use was originally part of a different structure, an interesting parallel to the situation in several other such monuments, including Gavrinis. The symbols on the engraved blocks resemble those found in other megalithic monuments in Brittany; in broader terms they belong to the cultural phenomenon described as megalithic art. One of the recurring symbols is sometimes interpreted as an anthropomorphic depiction (the so-called \'Dolmen Goddess\').

An exhibition in the modern entrance building explains the results of scientific excavation and displays some objects from the site.