Örbyhus Castle

Örbyhus, Sweden

Örbyhus estate existed already in the 14th century, but the first castle was built by John Kristiernsson (Vasa) around then year 1450. It was a strong fortification with tower. Örbyhus remained in a possession of royal Vasa family until the end of 16th century. Gustav Vasa, who acquired Örbyhus through an exchange with his cousins in 1548, constructed the national fortress in the middle of Uppland complete with ramparts, moats and 54-foot-high stone walls around his grandfather’s stronghold tower. In Gustav Vasa’s castle there are many hidden passages and casemates with space for a garrison and stores for many years. The former King Erik XIV was imprisoned in Örbyhus until his death 1574-1577.

Gustav Banér, the governor of Västergötland, acquired Örbyhus in 1641 and rebuild the castle in the present form of a baroque castle. Örbyhus was owned at the beginning of the 18th century by de Geer at Leufsta, who made both Leufsta and Örbyhus the entailed estate of his nephew, the scientist Charles de Geer. During the 200 years that followed it was the names of de Geer, von Platen, de la Gardie, Klingspor and Barnekow that left their mark on Örbyhus.

In 1900 the castle was purchased by Count Carl Gustav von Rosen; it was taken over during the same year by Count Eugène von Rosen, who commissioned extensive restoration and decoration work for the building.

Today guided tours are arranged during most of the summer season of King Erik XIV’s prison, the castle park and the carriage museum.

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Details

Founded: ca. 1450
Category: Castles and fortifications in Sweden
Historical period: Kalmar Union (Sweden)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Per Björlin (3 years ago)
Interesting history of this castle.
Brown Andrew (3 years ago)
Amazing piece of Swedish history
Markus Marttila (4 years ago)
Beautiful castle stepped in history. Concerts arranged occasionally, guided tours available. Lovely place for a picnic but the amount of mosquitoes can be ridiculous.
Carl Niclas (4 years ago)
Steeped in Swedish history, but a bit off the beaten track. A guided tour is required to enter the castle.
Daniel Grönjord (4 years ago)
Interesting castle with an interesting history. Nice photo ops in the park too.
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Glimmingehus

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".