Vittskövle Castle

Vittskövle, Sweden

Vittskövle Castle (also spelt Widtsköfle) is one of the best-preserved Renaissance castles in the Nordic countries. It has had medieval precursors, but the present castle was built by Jens Brahe in 1553. It is the largest castle in Skåne with approx. 100 rooms. Location and shape were decided out of consideration for defence and the tiled four-winged castle was built on piles in the marsh and supplied with strong square towers surrounded by moats.

By the castle there is a beautiful garden, created by the family architect Adolf Fredrik Barnekow in the later half of the 18th century, and an English park which dates from 1840s. The park is open to the public. The farm-buildings date from the middle of the 19th century and are built in medieval style after the drawnings of professor Carl Georg Brunius, who was a cathedral architect in Lund and a great admirer of the Middle Ages. Long alleys lead from different directions towards the castle. Vittskövle Castle is currently the private residence of the Stjernswärd family.

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Details

Founded: 1553
Category: Castles and fortifications in Sweden
Historical period: Early Vasa Era (Sweden)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Monique Buter (2 months ago)
Beautiful castle that you should definitely check out. You can enjoy walking and taking pictures
Stefan Ekander (3 months ago)
Beautiful, too bad you can't look at the castle itself.
Kurt (4 months ago)
Nice garden to walk around and see the castle at the same time.
Walter Hendriks (4 months ago)
Private lock, it cannot be visited inside. You can walk around the building and in the accompanying park. The very well-maintained landscaping is striking.
Gabriel Dascal (6 months ago)
Can enter the garden and premises but not in the castle. Nice views
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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".