Kronoberg Castle is a medieval ruin located on an island in lake Helgasjön. In 1444 Lars Mikaelson, the bishop of Växjö, built a stone building on the lakeshore. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1470-1471, Danish forces destroyed the house. It was reconstructed and fortified after peace was restored in 1472. During the Swedish Reformation the castle and its estate were confiscated by Gustav Vasa.
In 1542, during the Dacke War, Kronoberg was taken over by rebels led by Nils Dacke. The revolt was suppressed in 1543, and control reverted to the crown. Due to its strategic location near the border between Sweden and Denmark at the time, the castle was further fortified, and became a stronghold in this part of Småland. The king's son John III ordered additional improvements that never were carried out. The castle had great military significance during the Northern Seven Years War (1564-1570). In the winter of 1568, Eric XIV used Kronoborg as a support point while beating back a Danish attack from Skåne. In 1570 the castle was successfully besieged and burned by the Danes. Between 1576 and 1580 construction continued, after which the castle had at least 50 cannon. Duke Charles continued work on the fortifications, but in the end of January 1612 the castle was again taken and burned by Danish troops under Breide Rantzau. Reconstruction was not started until 1616.
As late as the reign of Charles XI Kronoberg castle was in good condition. However, after the Treaty of Roskilde was signed in 1658, the Swedish-Danish border was moved to Øresund, and Kronoberg castle lost its military significance. Neglected, the building began to decay and became a ruin.
The castle ruin is open to tourists in the summer months. It is located just short drive from Växjö, Sweden.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.