Gamleborg Viking Fortress

Bornholm, Denmark

Gamleborg, also known as Gamleborg Viking Fortress, was the first fortress on the Danish island of Bornholm. Built around 750 AD, it was the seat of the kings of Bornholm during the Viking age (750–1050) and early Middle Ages (1050–1150). The massive fortress is 264 metres long from north to south and 110 metres wide from east to west, with gates to the north and southwest. Around 1100, significant alterations were made and it was reinforced, but it was abandoned soon afterwards in favour of Lilleborg Castle, roughly 700 metres to the northeast.

The fortress is Bornholm's oldest defence works. Its builder is unknown, but an account of the Baltic Sea travels of Wulfstan of Hedebyin 890 tells us that Bornholm already had its own king at the time. There is, however, firm evidence that the fortress was in use during the reigns of Harald Bluetooth (940–986) and Canute IV (1080–1086). The Gamleborg fort was used as refuge during the tenth century against Viking raids. Gamleborg was abandoned in 1150, the occupants moving to Lilleborg, only 700 metres to the northwest. It is not known why the move was made but it does not appear to have been the result of hostilities. Excavations in the 1950s showed the fortifications originated in the Viking period although there is evidence the site was used as a hideout in the Iron Age. The ruins that can be seen today are mainly the result of reconstruction work completed in about 1100.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 750 AD
Category: Ruins in Denmark
Historical period: Germanic Iron Age (Denmark)

Rating

4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ole Andersen (9 months ago)
After living on Bornholm for over 50 years, I finally visited Gammelborg. Worth a visit for those interested in ancient culture.
Renato Ribeiro (11 months ago)
Nothing much to see, but nice if you have time to spend.
Michaela May (2 years ago)
Be careful and watch your step in places. Would love to see some of the vegetation removed to help maintain the structure. A good way to visit nature and history. Not very handicap accessible, as to be expected with the type of site it is.
Nils Kristensen (3 years ago)
Svært at komme til. Men besøget værd
Jens Pihl (3 years ago)
Interessant at opleve. Storslået udsigt og natur . Værd at se
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Angelokastro

Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.

The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.

During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.

The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.

From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.

The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.

Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.