A pre-Nuragic settlement in Nurra at the extreme north-western edge of Sardinia is home to remarkable remains of an impenetrable fortress. Huge boulders create an impenetrable 100 metre long and 3 metre high wall. It’s the great wall of the fortress built by pre-Nuragic settlers to defend their wide fertile valley, and it is one of the most remarkable and massive settlements from the 3rd millennium BC in all of the Mediterranean basin.
It sits on the slopes of Mount Baranta just 3 kilometres from Olmedo, an important industrial/agricultural town in the heart of the Nurra region. Also known as su Casteddu, the fortress dates to the Copper Age (2500-2000 BC) and was constructed with massive megalithic structures following the natural contours of the terrain. Protected by walls, the fortress is comprised of a wall-tower and a group of rectangular huts. Everything here is imposing, built with large rocks and boulders: even the horse-shoe shaped tower is huge, six and a half meters thick and nine metres high. It sits perched on an outcrop of trachyte over the valley below. At the far end of the wall is a sacred area with a megalithic circle where worship and sacrifices were carried out. It is made up of 80 standing straight up in a 10 metre wide circle. Between the rocks are characteristic menhir, one split into two pieces, another whole lying on a rocky raise, perfectly polished. East of the wall you will also find the remains of a small village. Seven large, rectangular, multi-room dwellings have so far been identified.
The Monte Baranta megalithic complex was a busy place, bustling with the military, religious and civic activities of the pre-Nuragic people who lived there. You can feel a touch of insecurity in the air, a fear of attack from the outside that urged the settlers of the Monte Claro culture to seek protection inside an impenetrable construction.
Just after its construction, Su Casteddu was lived in for a relatively short period of time, as shown by the paucity of period relics found during digs and the fact that the area of worship remains unfinished. The site was repopulated during the Early Bronze Age and then, more sporadically, during Nuragic and Roman times. Proof of the vitality and density of the population can also be seen in the surrounding area, in the Olmedo region that counts some twenty nuraghe, including those of Mount Ortolu (a corridor construction), Masala (tholos) and sa Femina, remarkable for the fact that is was built in town.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".