Ismantorp Fortress

Borgholm, Sweden

Ismantrop is an ancient fortress, which was used probably between years 300-500 AD. The ringfort consists of a limestone wall approximately 300 meters long and has nine gates. Inside the ringfort were 95 houses arranged in 12 blocks around a central open area with a circular building. Ismantorp is the largest and probably the oldest of the ringforts on Öland.

The first written description of Ismantorp dates back to the year 1634. Renowned botanist Carl von Linné, as well as other travellers and scholars, paid attention to the fortress. Researchers have tried to determine the fortress's age, function and history since the 19th century. Its well-preserved walls distinguish the fortress, as do the central building's unusual location on a ground elevation, the 88 visible house foundations and the nine gates.

Theories of Ismantorp's function differ widely. The fortifications suggest a defensive purpose, but its many gates make is difficult to defend. Ismantorp fortress has been compared to large Slavic castles that were both protective fortress and religious sanctuaries. Other researchers view the fortress as an integrated part of a united defence of the island of Öland.

Ismantorp, which today is surrounded by marshes in the Mittlandskogen forest, is an archaeological enigma as well as a popular place to visit.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 300-500 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Sweden
Historical period: Roman Iron Age (Sweden)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org
www.raa.se

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alex Haas (3 years ago)
After arriving in Öland this was one of the first sights we went visiting. The road is quite fine, only on the last few meters it turns into a dirtroad. The parking lot is also not paved, but otherwise fine. There's plenty of parking, but surprisingly few visitors. Even though we came here on a beautiful sunny day. The remains of the fortress are quite complete and if you climb up, you can get a better view of it. Of course a higher perspective would reveal an even better view. But to get that picture you'll need a helictoper....or a drone with a camera maybe. Even though the fortress is pretty much gone, you can see all the remains of the inner and outer walls and surely it was an impressive sight when it was still in one piece. It's a nice sight, only a quick walk from the parking lot on a nice, open field. Be respectful and be careful when you climb up, so you won't damage the ruins any further. To me it was also suprising - besides the few visitors - that there isn't any fee or entrance here. It's just there.... and that's very nice.
Jethro Jessop (3 years ago)
It's an interesting historical monument but the major appeal is the walk out to it which was fantastic. Farmland, woodland, scrub, meadows and wetland (dry as bone in the middle of a heatwave though). The little coffeshop on site is rrally nice as well - friendly staff and great, homemade snacks.
Patrik Wivstad (3 years ago)
Ruin of a circle wall with house grounds inside. Sadly enough no info at site. Even though, cool place to visit if you're in the area or interested in historic places!
Mike Bite (3 years ago)
If you are on a trip to Öland and you are interested in viking history this place should be a must in your visiting list. The path to the ruins is magical.
Emma Hultgren (3 years ago)
Lovely walk through a forest for 10 minutes. The remains of the fort has a great history with famous names such as Carl von Linné.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.