Västerås Castle was built in the 13th century. The castle taken over by Gustav Vasa was in poor condition after battles and sieges so during the middle of the 16th century he altered and extended it. In 1544 the government gave the Crown Prince, Prince Erik, his own quarters in the castle, “The Young Man’s Apartment”. Later the castle was to be his prison.
From 14 June 1573 to 16 October 1574 Erik XIV was imprisoned in Västerås castle. He sat in “the dark prison”, always separated from his wife, Karin Månsdotter and his child. The dethroned king moved to Örbyhus shortly before his death, from poisoned pea soup says the story, but later his body was brought back to Västerås for burial in the cathedral.
Västmanland’s county museum is today housed in Västerås Castle including the county archive, library and administration. The museums objectives are to deepen knowledge of Västmanländ’s cultural heritage, to facilitate and encourage interest, to deepen insight into the past and thereby enrich perspectives of the present and the future.References:
Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.
As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.
The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.