Hammershus

Allinge, Denmark

Hammershus is Northern Europe's largest medieval fortification, situated 74 metres above sea level. Erected in the 13th century, it was long believed that the castle was built as a private residence for the archbishop of Lund. However, new evidence found at the ruins of the castle suggests it was constructed in the beginning of the century as a royal residence for Valdemar II of Denmark and a base for the Danish crusades, according to Kjeld Borch Westh, superintendent of the National Museum of Denmark.

During a number of successive struggles between the kings of Denmark versus the Archbishopric, the fortress, serving as a refuge for the Archbishops, e.g. Jens Grand, was conquered by the king's army on a number of occasions, e.g. 1259, 1265, 1319, and 1325. In 1521, it was taken by king Christian II who used it to imprison Bishop Jens Andersen Beldenak of Funen. The fortress was conquered by forces of Lübeck the same year.

In 1658, Hammershus was occupied by Swedish forces but a rebellion on the island terminated the Swedish rule. The rebels led by Jens Pedersen Kofoed shot the Swedish commandant Johan Printzenskiöld and the Danish peasants traveled to Copenhagen to return the island to the king of Denmark. Corfitz Ulfeldt and his wife Leonora Christina were imprisoned in Hammershus 1660–1661, and the fortress was used as a prison on several other occasions.

The fortress was partially demolished around 1750 and is now a ruin. It was partially restored around 1900.

The fortification consists of the base castle residence and accompanying Mantel Tower, and includes a great stonewall stretching 750 metres around the castle grounds. Bricks found at the tower during the renovation led Westh and other experts to revise their theory on when the structure was originally constructed, moving back the date from around 1255 to the beginning of the century, when Valdemar became king.

Visitors to Hammershus have a spectacular view of the coastline and the sea surrounding Bornholm. South of the castle is a deep valley, water filled hollows, and dense forest. There are numerous points before arriving at castle where enemies could be stopped. The castle was built with box-like rooms surrounded by rings of fortifications. Each provided an additional layer of protection from invaders. Two natural spring ponds provided fresh drinking water on the side of the castle. Hammershus Fortress features a 750-metre-long perimeter wall and features a grand tower called the "mantel" tower.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Denmark
Historical period: The First Kingdom (Denmark)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

F B (14 months ago)
Over 800 years of pure history for this ruins of a castle that is located nicely with a wonderful view. It is free and well maintained. The pictures would never give you the full impression of what it looks like. Just have to be there.
Tamara Lawrence (2 years ago)
This is an amazing remnant of history and an amazing place to explore, with breathtaking views of the surrounding sea! Located on the island of Bornholm in the middle of the Baltic Sea, this island is owned by Denmark, but has changed hands many times through the ages. The castle was erected in 1200’s. It played an important part in the struggles and wars which took place in the middle ages in Europe. This is where a Danish princess, Leonora Christina Christiansdatter, daughter of King Christian IV of Denmark and wife of Steward of the Realm, traitor Count Corfitz Ulfeldt were were imprisoned under very harsh conditions from 1660-1661. The castle was deserted in 1745 and allowed to fall into decay. This is a must-see if you visit the island. The fortress is open all year and has no entrance fee, but beware of the parking requirement, it’s easy to miss and expensive if you do.
Remigiusz Nałęcz (2 years ago)
Nice place to see. Nice view and ruins also looks interesting. Recommend to add this to your list when visit Bornholm. Only parking and minimum 6 h parking is a bit of scam.
Kristina Kunz (2 years ago)
WOW! Such a beautiful place to visit. If you have kids and if you are danish you can download an app with a scavenger hunt which will keep the kids entertained while you walk around. You can bring your own food or eat something at the cafe after you have strolled around the place. It’s a must-see if you ask me. So much history and so much to learn of you want.
Patrick Janoud (2 years ago)
Absolutely beautiful. It’s definitely worth the visit. Take the walk from the ruins down to the havn!
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