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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Details

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

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Martina Šindelářová (14 months ago)
It's definitely worth the visit. Beautiful views, many interesting historical facts and the interiors are truly beautiful.
Horst Schlereth (14 months ago)
Very interesting castle, supported by guided tours and media tours by downloading an app. The signs are translated into English
Ben Titmuss (15 months ago)
I really enjoyed Borgholm. Great to learn about the history of the site and local area. Has an interesting museum and great views of the coast.
Ronnie Eriksson (15 months ago)
More to see then you our first think, takes a good 1 to 2 hours, amazing views.
Keith Owen (16 months ago)
It would be wonderful if a joint effort of artist and architect could provide presentations at the entry to each room/hall, how they would have looked like in reality. One could see how it looked like with floors, roofing, windows and fireplaces etc. perhaps even with appropriate characters. How it would bring the castle to life!
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