Nääs Castle is a 17th century mansion near Gothenburg, Sweden. In the later half of the 19th century Nääs became world renowned through its Crafts College and for more than 50 years it was regarded as 'Swedens window to the world'.
According to legend, King Kristian II built a castle for hunting parties at Näs. The first historical evidence on Nääs Estate however, derives from record dated 3 October 1529. The first known owner, Joen Småswen, constructed a large manor on the promontory in Lake Savelången. At the end of the 16th century the estate was owned by the governor of west Sweden, Göran Eriksson Ulfsparre. It was subsequently owned by Ulfsparres family members and the noble families Lilliehöök, Natt och Dag, Cronsköld, Oxenstierna, Göthenstierna, von Utfall and Reenstierna.
1824 the estate was sold to Peter Wilhelm Berg, a wholesaler from Gothenburg. After his death the property was divided between his surviving children (only 3 out of his 10 children survived childhood). Bergs’ son Theodor and his daughter Nensy were allotted Nääs factories. The youngest son, Gottfrid, received the rest of the estate, including the mansion. A memorial stone to the 7 dead brothers and sisters was raised in the Castle gardens at the northern side of the mansion. In 1868 the mansion and associated land was sold to August Abrahamson, yet another wholesaler from Gothenburg. Abrahamson founded the famous Crafts College and donated the entire property to the State after his death in 1897, in order to secure continuity for the Nääs educational programme.
The main building on the cultural heritage site of Nääs estate, Nääs Castle, is now museum open to the public, daily between May-September (only guided tours) as well as for pre-booked group-appointments outside of the tourist season.
The estate exists of a number of historic buildings open to the public. In addition to a restaurant, café, art & crafts shop and west Sweden’s very own heritage foundation, byggnadsvård Nääs, a range of exciting public events are organized each year (more information and Nääs Castle and Crafts College home page). Art & Crafts courses, though in a far lesser extent, are still practiced in one of the buildings.
The old stable is now home to a horse riding school and Nääs horse association. Beside several nature and walking trails, Nääs estate also provides Bed & Breakfast as well as conference accommodations. During the summer several craft courses are held at the ’Slöjdseminariet’, the crafts college official building.
Nääs Castle and Crafts College is administered and maintained by August Abrahamsons foundation, a Swedish government administration.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.