Hegra Fortress is a small mountain fortress built between 1908–1910 as a border fort as a defence against the perceived threat of a Swedish invasion. After the 1905 dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden, the Norwegian military harboured continued fears of a Swedish invasion to retake Norway.

The fort's guns came from the dismantled Ørje Fortress in Marker. The artillery was made up of flat angle guns with a range of 6 to 9 kilometres. The fortifications themselves consisted of 300 metres of halls and tunnels dynamited into the mountain at Ingstadkleiva, as well as trench systems and gun positions excavated from the rock with explosives. There are two main underground parallel tunnels of around 80 metres length, with a 35-metre tunnel connecting them at a straight angle. One of the main tunnels served as crew quarters while the other was in direct connection with the above ground artillery pits. The fortress' artillery consisted of two 7.5-centimetre and four 10.5-centimetre positional artillery pieces in half-turrets placed in pits dynamited from the rock and lined with concrete, as well as four Krupp M/1887 field guns.

During the period 1910 to 1926 the fort was used as a major military base for the Trøndelag border areas with Sweden. In 1926, Ingstadkleiva Fort was put in reserve as part of the post-World War I defence budget cuts. From 1934–1939, the deactivated fort was used by the Norwegian Red Cross's youth branch as a summer holiday camp for children. In late 1939, Finnish soldiers of the independent Lapland Group who had crossed the Norwegian border into Finnmark escaping the fighting in the Petsamo district in northern Finland were interned at Ingstadkleiva Fort. All the Finns were repatriated during the early days of 1940. During the Finnish internees' stay a sauna was constructed at the fort's camp.

In 1940, from 15 April to 5 May, Hegra was attacked by the German invaders. During the first week the attacks consisted of two infantry assaults; however in the last two weeks attacks mostly featured heavy artillery fire and Luftwaffe bombing, as well as aggressive patrolling. During the siege large portions of the fort were covered in snow, and as all plans of the fort were stored in German-occupied Trondheim several sections of the fortifications were not discovered by the defenders before the 5 May surrender.

After the end of the Second World War, Hegra Fortress was returned to Norwegian control and is today used as a museum with exhibitions detailing the fort's history with an emphasis on the 1940 siege. There is also a café and a souvenir shop. The museum is often used for conferences and for seminars on issues of war and peace. Hegra Fortress is still owned by the Norwegian Defence Force and financed through the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.

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Founded: 1908-1910
Category: Castles and fortifications in Norway

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Markus Kartesalo (16 months ago)
This place makes you think.
Skills SP (18 months ago)
Big fortress with many tunnels, a rich history and lots of stuff to explore.
Marius Minde (18 months ago)
Interesting place with an even more interesting history.
Vegar Christoffersen Walsø (2 years ago)
Nice place for a coffee, when the cafe is open. It is also a very interesting place for a historic walk around the fortress.
Jeff Crane (2 years ago)
Always a cool place to visit. History: Hegra Fortress (Norwegian: Hegra festning) is a small mountain fortress in the village of Hegra in the municipality of Stjørdal in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. Originally known as Ingstadkleiven Fort (also Ingstadkleiva Fort), it was built between 1908–1910 as a border fort as a defence against the perceived threat of a Swedish invasion. The intent behind Ingstadkleiva Fort was to block Swedish advances into Central Norway, as had happened repeatedly during the Swedish-Norwegian conflicts in the preceding centuries, for example the Hannibal War, Northern Wars, and Great Northern War.[5] After the 1905 dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden, the Norwegian military harboured continued fears of a Swedish invasion to retake Norway. As a successful attack into the centre of the country could split it in half, the Norwegian general staff in February 1906 suggested the construction of a blocking fort in the Stjørdalen valley. Ingstadkleiva was early on pointed out as a good location to block an advance from the east. Already in March that year the Minister of Defence, commanding general, and chief of the Fortress Artillery surveyed the site and agreed to the plan. In a closed meeting on 26 April 1906, the Norwegian Parliament authorized the construction of Ingstadkleiva Fort, but no funds were allocated until 12 July 1907. In May 1908, the work began on the road up to the construction site and by January 1910 the fort was ready for use.
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