Boden Fortress

Boden, Sweden

Boden fortress was one of Sweden's largest military building projects of all times. It was built between 1901–1916 against the threat of Russia and consists of several major and minor forts and fortifications surrounding the city of Boden. The fortress was originally intended to stop or delay attacks from the east or coastal assaults, which at the time of construction meant Russian attacks launched from Finland. It was primarily the expansion of the railway net in Norrland, which in turn was a consequence of the rising importance of the northern iron ore fields, that led to the increased strategic value of northern Sweden and the construction of the fortress. Although the main forts were finished in 1908, many of the supporting fortifications were not completed until the start of the First World War. Improvements were also continuously made during, and between, both World Wars.

Boden Fortress is made up of five primary self-supporting forts excavated out of the bedrock in five of the mountains surrounding Boden: Degerberget, Mjösjöberget, Gammelängsberget, Södra Åberget and Rödberget. Eight fortified secondary artillery positions were constructed between the forts to give flanking support and to cover areas not in range of the main forts' artillery. In addition, 40 bunkers for infantry, along with dugouts and other fortifications, were built to cover even more terrain. During the Second World War anti-tank gun emplacements and additional bunkers and shelters were built, and tens of kilometres of dragon's teeth were placed around the fortress and the city itself. Owing to the end of the Cold War and the reduction of the threat from the Soviet Union, Boden Fortress became less important to the defence of Sweden, and began to be decommissioned. The last fort of the complex was decommissioned on 31 December 1998, and is now used as a tourist attraction. All five forts as well as some of the supporting structures have been declared historic buildings, to be preserved for the future, by the Swedish government.

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Address

Avans byaväg, Boden, Sweden
See all sites in Boden

Details

Founded: 1901-1916
Category: Castles and fortifications in Sweden
Historical period: Union with Norway and Modernization (Sweden)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jani Tolonen (5 months ago)
Absolutely nice piece of Swedish history, recommend it.
Carlos Villalobos (5 months ago)
visited, but required a scheduled tour group to get in. Would have been nice to see the inside.
Rajendra Shah (7 months ago)
Great views historic sights loved it.
Dan Strömberg (9 months ago)
Bikers be aware of the path taking you down from the top, it’s steep with a sharp turn all covered with loose gravel. The site itself is totally underestimated and could do so much more to add value for visitors. The guided tour is 2 hrs and a shorter version for families would be appreciated!
Johan Westling (10 months ago)
One of multiple fortresses purposed to defend Sweden being attached by Russia from the north as late as a couple of decades ago. Massive view over the Boden territory and there are guided tours every hour during summer. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to go for one and therefore we didn't get the opportunity to visit the insides of the fortress which was a shame. Definitely on the to-do list.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.