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.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.