Kärnan is a medieval tower, the only part remaining of a larger Danish fortress which controlled the entrance to the Baltic Sea.
The origins of the fortress is disputed but Danish legend places its origin to the reign of the legendary King Fróði. However, this legend has not been supported by archaeological proof. Dendrochronological dating has shown that the core was built in the 1310s, when Eric VI of Denmark was King of Denmark. It was considered the most important fortress in Denmark, and was integral in securing control over the strait between Scania and Zealand.
It was surrendered to Sweden along with the rest of Skåneland as part of the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. The fortress was retaken by Danish forces in 1676 during the Scanian War, and its capture celebrated by flying a giant Flag of Denmark above it. This flag was later captured by the Swedish army and is preserved in the Army Museum (Armémuseum) in Stockholm. The fortress returned to Swedish control by the Treaty of Lund in 1679. Charles XI of Sweden ordered most of it demolished fearing that it was too exposed to a sneak attack from Denmark. The only thing that was saved for posterity was the old medieval tower core. The tower continued to serve as a landmark for shipping through Øresund.
The castle was restored starting during 1893-94, under instructions from Oscar Ferdinand Trapp, a Swedish businessman and engineer (1847–1916). Architect for the restoration was Josef Alfred Hellerström (1863–1931), Helsingborg city architect from 1903 to 1928. The objective of the restoration was to restore, to the extent possible, the appearance the structure had based upon the oldest known medieval illustration. The building's crenellation dates from these repairs.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.