Prösels Castle (Castello di Presule) was first named in a document from 1279 and it is believed that the lords of Völs, feudatories of the Bishopric of Brixen, had built the castle here by 1200. Today the central palace with a Romanesque archway are surviving parts of this first fortress.
In Italian it is sometimes called Castel Colonna, reflecting the fact that around the time of Leonhard II the Völs (Fiè) family started to add the Colonna family name to their own.
The Gothic castle of today was built by Leonhard of Völs (born 1458). He was the administrator of the salt mines of Hall in Tirol, a highly profitable position, furthermore he was married three times to wealthy noblewomen, which enabled him to spend extravagantly on the expansion of his castle. In 1498 Leonhard, thanks to his friendship with the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Archduke of Austria, became governor of the County of Tyrol. Leonhard showed his gratitude by including the emperor on one of the frescoes in the newly built arcade of his castle.
During the Peasants' War of 1525 the castle was briefly occupied by the revolting subservient farmers, who burnt all the documents in the vain hope of destroying all proof of their debts and tithes. The uprising was squashed and six leaders executed. Leonhard of Völs also instigated the burning of nine local woman for witchcraft.
The castle remained in the hands of the family until its last member, Felix, Freiherr von Völs, died childless in 1810. For the next 50 years the castle stood empty and nearly fell into ruins. Between 1860 and 1978 the castle changed hands no fewer than 14 times, suffering periods of decay followed by attempted restoration before finally being abandoned to its fate. However, in 1981 the Kuratorium Schloss Prösels (Prösels Castle Curatorship) was formed to restore the building; the work was completed the following year.
Guided visits are available during the summer months and during the Christmas holidays, various cultural events are held here including concerts, exhibitions and theatrical performances. Permanent displays include for example a collection of weapons and suits of armour.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.