Borgholm Castle is today only a ruin of the fortress that was first built in the second half of the 12th century and many times rebuilt in later centuries. The construction of the original fortress was probably ordered by king Canute I (1167-1195), who ordered fortresses to be built on the Swedish east coast as defence against enemies from the other side of the Baltic Sea. During the 13th to 15th centuries, additions and changes were made. New towers were built, a new and thicker wall was raised for example. The fortress was damaged on a number of times during these centuries, including in 1361, when king Valdemar IV (Atterdag) of Denmark attacked Borgholm.

During the Kalmar Union, many castles and fortresses in Sweden were damaged as a result of the ongoing conflicts between Danes and Swedes. John III (r. 1568-1592) ordered the reconstruction of Borgholm into a renaissance castle. During his reign, the Pahr brothers (four engineers and architects from Milan) led a significant rebuilding that took place from 1572. The castle acquired a Gothic character and became exemplary of the Italianate bastion style.

Some decades later, Sweden and Denmark fought each other in the Kalmar War. Borgholm Castle first, in 1611, surrendered to the Danish side, but was reconquered by the Swedish side later the same year. The following year, after a siege two weeks long, the commander of the Swedish defence, Peter Michelsen Hammarskiöld had to surrender. In accordance to the treaty that followed the war, the Treaty of Knäred, Borgholm was handed back to the Swedish.

The castle was in a bad shape after the war and it took until 1654 before a restoration and reconstruction would begin. This time, the castle was to be turned into a baroque palace. Charles X Gustav was the king that ordered this, and Nicodemus Tessin the Elder was the architect that was used to fulfil the king's wishes. When Charles Gustaf died in 1660, the construction stopped, only to be restarted at a slow pace during the following kings Charles XI and Charles XII. In 1709, the construction was ended totally and finally.

For a hundred years, the palace was left to fall into decay. On 14 October 1806, the castle was turned into a ruin through a fire that started in the roof of the north wing. The castle of today is the ruins of the 17th century baroque palace Charles X Gustav had constructed. It is owned and superintended by the National Property Board of Sweden. It is open for visitors and holds a museum.



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Founded: 1654, originally in 1100s
Category: Castles and fortifications in Sweden
Historical period: Swedish Empire (Sweden)


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Liquid Swan (5 months ago)
Much larger in person than I first realized. It is very beautiful in a “it burned down, sadly” sort of way. It really pops out of the surrounding scenery. Appears in a Roxette music video from a concert she did there in the ruins.
Reinhart Lutz (6 months ago)
What a wonderful gift of her father to Queen Victoria. Great fun to stroll the gardens opened generally to the public now. Notice all the statues and their details ?.
Helena Zeegers (7 months ago)
The castle ruins are beautiful and the view is gorgeous from the second story. You have to walk carefully since the ground is uneven. You can bring your dog as long as you keep it on a leash. I was unlucky and visited the day after they'd ended their guided tours for the summer. Luckily they have an app where you can download a guided tour, listening to short snippets by different numbers in the castle. This is where I have to give fewer stars because there's a discrepancy between where the numbers are placed in real life and on the map in the app, making it very hard to find some of the spots. And they're supposed to be marked by red flags but not all of the numbers are. Eventually, after running around trying to find the numbers, I gave up. It's still worth a visit if you enjoy old castle ruins and are in the neighborhood. If you like me prefer to have a guide I recommend you go here during high season when there are actual guided tours. Oh, also. The toilets outside of the entry cost 10 sek to visit. (I have strong opinions about that.) If you are planning to go inside the ruins, hold it in and use the free toilets inside instead.
Lucas Kastrup (8 months ago)
Beautiful place! We watched the sunset, in the “throne room” on the 1st floor. Highly recommended! Also The Ark played, hence our visit. Pretty cool. Also the support band PRISMA was amaaaaazing..! Go listen!! ?
Darasingh Hooda (8 months ago)
Lovely peice of Swedish history to explore and witness .Must visit when in Oland.
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