Ulriksdal Palace is a royal palace situated on the banks of the Edsviken in the National City Park. It was originally called Jakobsdal after its owner Jacob De la Gardie, who had it built by architect Hans Jacob Kristler in 1643-1645 as a country retreat. He later passed on to his son, Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie, from whom it was purchased in 1669 by Queen Hedvig Eleonora. The present design is mainly the work of architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and dates from the late 17th century.
Hedvig Eleonora renamed the palace in 1684 Ulriksdal after its intended future owner, her grandson Prince Ulrik. The prince, however, died at the age of one and Hedvig Eleonora kept the palace until her death in 1715 when the property was transferred to the crown for King Frederick I's disposal. Several drawings by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder show a stately palace, three storeys high, with a lantern roof, furnished attic, and side wings extending the lakeside façade.
Implementation of Tessin's designs began under Hedvig Eleonora in the 1670s, but was halted around 1690 due to financial problems. When building work eventually resumed by King Frederick I in the 1720s, the palace architect Carl Hårleman had different ideas than Tessin the Elder. Among the features incorporated by Hårleman was one of the first mansard roofs in Sweden. In the mid-18th century, the palace was occupied by King Adolf Frederick and Queen Louisa Ulrika.
Relatively little survives of the 18th century interiors, since Ulriksdal served as a veterans' hospital from 1822 to 1849. The palace was therefore almost empty when it was acquired in 1856 by Prince Charles, later King Charles XV. With the aid of architect Fredrik Willhelm Scholander and through extensive purchases of antiques, Prince Charles was able to design and furnish the palace at his own taste. Many of these furnishings are still on display.
The palace has been open to the public since 1986. The original furnishings have been relocated to the preserved rooms and parts of the former living quarters are used to exhibit items from Gustaf VI Adolf's art and crafts collection as well as Gustaf V's silver collection.
The Palace Theatre, the Confidencen, is situated in a building from the 1670s which was originally used as a horse riding house and later a guesthouse. In 1753, Queen Louisa Ulrika commissioned architect Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz to convert the building into a theatre. It was built in Rococo style, seats 200 spectators and has a table à confidence, a table which can be lowered through the floor to the basement to be set. The Confidencen is today the oldest Rococo theatre in Sweden.
Ulriksdal Palace had in the palace's northern wing originally a chapel, built in 1662 by architect Jean de la Vallée. The chapel was torn down during Gustav III's renovation of the palace in 1774. The present chapel was designed by architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander and was built in 1864-1865 in the Palace garden, in Dutch new Renaissance style with a certain influences from Venice.
Next to the palace is the greenhouse, today the Orangery Museum. The Orangery was built at the end of the 17th century by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Despite a number of later changes, Tessin's architecture still dominates the Orangery, which houses parts of the National Museum's sculpture collection, including works by the sculptors Johan Tobias Sergel and Carl Milles.References:
Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.
The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.
In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.
Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.
Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.