Kalmar Castle

Kalmar, Sweden

The first defensive construction, a round tower, was built on Kalmarsund in the 12th century concurrently with the harbour. At the end of the 13th century King Magnus Ladulås had a new fortress built with a curtain wall, round corner towers and two square gatehouses surrounding the original tower. Located near the site of Kalmar's medieval harbor, it has played a crucial part in Swedish history since its initial construction as a fortified tower in the 12th century.

One of the most significant political events in Scandinavia took place at Kalmar Castle in 1397, when the Kalmar Union was formed - a union of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, organized by Queen Margaret I of Denmark. During the Swedish rebellion against Denmark in1520, the fortress was commanded by Anna Eriksdotter.

The fortress was improved during the 16th century under the direction of King Gustav I and his sons King Eric XIV and King John III, who turned the medieval fortress into a castle fit for a renaissance king. Kalmar Castle suffered heavy damage during the Kalmar War of 1611-13 and was badly damaged by a fire in 1642. Repairs were begun but from the end of the seventeenth century the castle was allowed to fall into disrepair.

In 1856, architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander (1816 - 1881) initiated restoration work at Kalmar Castle. His pupil Helgo Zettervall continued restoring Kalmar Castle in the 1880s. Architect Carl Möller drew up the plans and other documents. The work began in 1885 and by 1891 the castle had gained the silhouette it bears today. In 1919 professor Martin Olsson was charged with the continuing restoration of earthworks, the moat, the bridge and the drawbridge. Work continued until 1941, when the castle was once more surrounded by water. Today, it is one of Sweden's best preserved renaissance castles and is open to the public.

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Address

Kungsgatan 1, Kalmar, Sweden
See all sites in Kalmar

Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Sweden
Historical period: Consolidation (Sweden)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jolene Arendse (4 months ago)
Good experience. Good value. A bit nippy. Bring a jacket if winter.
Michael Söderlund (5 months ago)
A Christmas market I would like to recommend!
Miljko Kucevic (8 months ago)
Lovely castle. With an important history for Sweden. The view and surroundings are beautiful to see. You can enter the castle and see many interesting rooms. Each room is unique and suprising.
Wan T. Tu (8 months ago)
Beautiful castle to see from outside. Has a decent cafe/restaurant. Not necessary to purchase ticket to visit inside.
Jarno Paldanius (10 months ago)
Lots of interesting things to see. Tours are great! It's really great to notice that castle is well maintained. Family ticket packet is also quite reasonably priced. Must see if you visit Kalmar!
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.