Fredriksten Fortress

Halden, Norway

Fredriksten Fortress was constructed by Denmark-Norway in the 17th century as a replacement for the border fortress at Bohus, which had been lost when the province of Bohuslän was ceded to Sweden by the terms of the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. The fortress was named after King Fredrik III of Denmark and Norway. Fredriksten took part to the battle first time two years later, in January of 1660, when the Swedish forces attacked Halden for the third time. After the attempt to storm the fortifications was unsuccessful, the Swedes prepared a regular siege. On 22 February 1660 the Swedes again were forced to retreat to Bohuslen until they heard that their king Charles X had died.

The existing star shaped fortress complex was upgraded during the period of peace between 1661–1675. In 1673 Denmark dispatched Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve as statholder to Norway to organize the military forces and strengthen the defenses of the kingdom. After a tour of facilities, he recommended further upgrades to both the fortress and the military forces. In the summer of 1675, 1800 men were kept at work on the fortresses at Akershus, Fredrikstad, and Fredrikshald. Fredriksten was expanded from 1682–1701. It now included three outer fortifications: Gyldenløve, Overberget and Stortårnet.

At the close of the Great Northern War Charles XII of Sweden attempted to take Frederiksten by storm on 4 July 1716. His troops took the town after fierce fighting, but the citizens set fire to their own houses, forcing Charles, unable to take the fortress, to retreat and await the arrival of heavy siege guns. Unfortunately for the invading army the entire Swedish transport fleet was captured or destroyed by the Norwegian naval hero Tordenskjold at the Battle of Dynekilen in Bohuslen. Running low on supplies, Charles retreated hastily across the Svinesund and burned the bridges behind him. By 12 July 1716 all Swedish troops had been withdrawn from the area around Fredriksten.

In the Autumn of 1718 Charles once more attacked Norway, intending to first capture Halden to be able to sustain a siege of Akershus. The 1,400 strong garrison of Frederiksten fought ferociously to hold back the invasion, but suffered a severe setback when, on 8 December the forward fortification Fort Gyldenløve fell. Encouraged by their very hard-fought success the Swedish army intensified their efforts against the main fort. The Swedish trenches had almost reached the main fortification walls when on the evening of 11 December 1718, a bullet struck and killed Charles XII while he inspected the work. The death of the king effectively ended the attack on Fredriksten and the invasion was called off, leading to the conclusion of the war. A memorial is located in the park named in his memory where the Swedish king fell, just in front of the fortress.

In 1788 the fortress served as a staging area for a mock attack on Sweden during the Theater War. During The Napoleonic Wars the fortress was bombarded in 1814 but not captured. The advancing Swedish forces of Charles John passed it on their advance, leaving a force that tried to force its surrender, but the fortress and its commander kept the ground. It was turned over to Sweden after the Convention of Moss. The old fortress flag from 1814, taken by the Swedish troops and not returned to Norway until 1964, is preserved in the present day museum located inside the inner fortress.

After 1905 the fortress lost all military significance, but it still hosted various units. As of today the Norwegian defence logistics and administrative college is situated by the fortress. The fortress also hosts several museums and art exhibitions. During the summer season outdoor concerts are arranged with both classic and contemporary music.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1659
Category: Castles and fortifications in Norway

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michael Jones (15 months ago)
Very cool! Can be difficult for people with accessibility problems due to uneven floors and no disability access
Carlos Bort Misol (16 months ago)
Very interesting historic site with wonderful views of Halden.
Blessing Addey-Oldeide (17 months ago)
Amazing view of the city from the fortress. Also nice to read the brief history of the fortress, the light show might be best when the nights are darke!
Mantas K (aka Fullest) (17 months ago)
Very nice place to visit ?
Holy Heart (17 months ago)
This is a large historical district which has a beautiful view and must visit area for those who love history. History: This Fortresses was constructed by Denmark-Norway in the 17th century as a replacement for the border fortress at Bohus, which had been lost when the province of Bohuslän was ceded to Sweden by the terms of the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. The fortress was named after King Fredrik III of Denmark and Norway, and the town of Halden was also originally named after him, having been known as Fredrikshald between 1665 and 1928. History Source: Wikipedia
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.

Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.

Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.

Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.

The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.