Sverresborg Castle Ruins

Trondheim, Norway

Sverresborg or Sverre Sigurdsson's castle was a fortification built in the medieval city of Nidaros (later Trondheim). It should not be confused with Sverresborg in Bergen. Sverre Sigurdsson was king of Norway from 1184-1202. In the winter of 1182/1183 he initiated construction of Sverresborg (one of the earliest Norwegian fortresses) to provide him a more secure and more easily defended base from which to work. The location selected was easily fortified, hard to approach, and could be defended by a small force. The stone for the fortification was available only 0.6 km away in the quarry which had been used for construction the cathedral at Nidaros. Since the Archbishop of Nidaros, who had aligned with King Magnus, was in exile in England from 1180 to 1183, the stonemasons were also available. Work proceeded quickly, and Sverre, along with a detachment of his men, moved out to the castle during Lent in 1183.

The sea Battle of Fimreite in 1184 proved to be final struggle between the Birkebeins and the Heklunger; King Magnus drowned. King Sverre, after a six years of struggle, became the uncontested king of Norway. But the peace was not to last for long.

In 1188 the town of Nidaros, which had been vacated by King Sverre’s men, was attacked. His opposition stormed into the city and a bloodbath followed. The wooden fortress was torn down and the castle burnt and left in ruins. It is not known precisely when it was restored, but the Sverresaga indicates the castle had been restored by 1197. He died in Bergen on 8 March 1202. Sverresborg is last mentioned in the time of King Sverre’s paternal grandson, King Haakon Haakonson in 1263, when he allowed the walls of Sverresborg to be broken down.

In 1914 the area surrounding the ruins of King Sverre's medieval castle was appropriated for the site of the new open-air museum. The castle ruins are today the center of the Trøndelag Folk Museum. The museum had started in 1909, when a group of enthusiasts decided to gather buildings and objects characteristic of the area for purposes of preservation. The area around the fortress ruins was set aside for purposes of building a museum and the collection has grown steadily since then. Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum is one of the largest cultural history museums in Norway. There are more than 60 buildings on the site now, covering a broad ethnological range.

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Founded: 1182-1183
Category: Ruins in Norway

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Evy Jonnasdatter (7 months ago)
Bunch of old bulding and some ruins
Krzysztof Orleanski (7 months ago)
Nice place to see old Norwegian architecture.Old fsrms old hsuses
Anna Badarycz (9 months ago)
It's the perfect place for those who want to know the atmosphere of old Norway. Peace of mind, detachment from the modern world etc
Ben Waldher (15 months ago)
While we believe this would be a great experience in summer, we visited in winter and left disappointed for two reasons: 1. Almost all buildings were closed. We were only able to enter less than 10 buildings. All other buildings were closed, and despite this, we paid the same price that we would have paid in summer when all buildings are open. 2. On the day we were there, the museum closed at 3 PM (15:00), and we bought our tickets less than an hour beforehand. We weren't informed by the staff that we don't have much time before closing. When we then were done touring, we discovered that the building was locked, including the exit door, and were were trapped until someone discovered us knocking on the door. If the museum responds positively to this review, noting that they will take steps to at least warn customers about these two issues, I will gladly remove this review.
John Wishart (16 months ago)
Excellent museum and cafe. Highly recommended for a great day out. The food is great too.
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