Holckenhavn Renaissance castle was built in the late 16th and early 17th century by three consecutive owners. Previously known both as Ulfeldtsholm and Ellensborg, it received its current name in 1672 when it was acquired by Eiler Holck, who at the same time founded the Barony of Holckenhavn. The estate has been in the possession of his family ever since.
Originally known as Kogsbølle, the estate traces its history back to the late 14th century when it was owned by Anders Jacobsen Ulfeldt. The house remained in the possession of the Ulfeldt family for more than 200 years. The original house was located further inland but shortly after 1580 it was moved to its current position next to a small arm of the Great Belt and its name was changed to Ulfeldtsholm.
In 1616, Chancellor of the Realm Jakob Ulfeldt sold the family estate to Ellen Marsvin after Ulfeldt acquired Egeskov Castle. Marsvin had been widowed for the second time a few years earlier at the age of 39, turned to farming and became one of the largest land owners of her time. She expanded the castle with two more wings and carried out extravagant interior alterations.
Ellen Marsvin was the mother of Kirsten Munk who was married to King Christian IV until she fell into disfavour due to her infidelity and left the king. When Kirsten Munk died in 1658 the castle was passed on to their daughter Leonora Christina, whose husband, former Steward of the Realm Corfitz Ulfeldt had joined forces with Sweden in its invasion of Denmark. For this act of treason the couple was imprisoned at Hammershus fortress on the island ofBornholm. After their release in 1661, they took up residence at Ellensborg until they left the country in 1662 and the estate was confiscated. After its confiscation, Ellensborg was left empty for almost a decade but in 1672 it was granted to Eiler Holck, the commandant at Kronborg. He renamed it Holckenhavn and founded the Barony of Holckenhavn (dissolved in 1921).
Situated on an almost quadratic castle bank, Holckenhavn is a four-winged complex designed in theRenaissance style and built over the course of three generations. The north and east wings, as well as the gate wing, were completed by 1585. The large bell tower was added somewhat later. The master builder was probably Domenicus Badiaz. Ellen Marsvin added the west wing in 1631 and a low south-facing gate wing in 1634. She is also responsible for a chapel installed in 1637 richly decorated with wood carvings by Hans Dreier, and a richly decorated knights' hall.
The main building was altered in the 18th and 19th century and thoroughly refurbished from 1904 to 1910. The site also includes a barn from 1629 which is the only surviving component of a farm which burned down in 1912.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.