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

Website (optional)



Details

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

Rating

4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nils Kristensen (2 years ago)
Svært at komme til. Men besøget værd
Jens Pihl (2 years ago)
Interessant at opleve. Storslået udsigt og natur . Værd at se
Ivan Fræer (2 years ago)
Kedelig oplevelse. Her var nærmest ingenting at se, ud over et par brokker hist og pist.
Francisco Ogando (3 years ago)
Old viking fortress in the wilderness. It is very old and deteriorated, but one ca still feel why the Vikings chose that place, with good natural defences, and part of the walls are still visible.
Jess Rafn (4 years ago)
The oldest known royal castle ruin in Denmark. Nothing much left of it but it gives a great impression of the location well protected by a lake and in the middle of a forest. There's a parking lot just beside the ruin and therefore easy to visit.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.