The location of Svartsjö Palace (Svartsjö Slott) has housed several royal buildings. During medieval times there was a stone house where prominent Swedish royalty lived. Gustav Vasa and his sons Erik and Johan erected a lavish renaissance palace with a round inner courtyard. It was at least partly designed by Willem Boy and completed in 1580 but burnt down in 1687. The remaining building material was shipped to Stockholm to be used in the build of the castle Tre kronor. The stone foundation was left and is visible today.
The current buildings middle section was started in 1734 and finished in 1739 on the order of Fredrik I. It was built as a hunting palace for then current queen Ulrika Eleonora using drawings by Carl Hårleman. The now Rococo palace, raised by inspiration of French palaces, became a model for Swedish country mansion architecture during the later part of the 18th century. The palace was extended on both short ends by drawings of Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, together with a bell tower. It was given to the Queen dowager Louisa Ulrika of Prussia in the 1770s.
The palace was abandoned for over a hundred years after the death of Lovisa Ulrika in 1782. Due to the large areas of minable granite in the area the palace was transformed in 1891 into a prison. Prisoners mined the granite until 1910, when a successful trial with farming and logging proved to work better for the prison. As more violent criminals were admitted to Svartsjö Palace, a special closed section was created with 337 cells built with steel walls. In 1966 the palace ceased to be used as a prison, and the prison walls were torn down. The prison warden house still remains in the palace gardens, as well as several prison personnel houses in the nearby area.
After years of neglect the palace was restored from 1994 to 2003 by the state, to a cost of 36 million SEK. The façade has regained its light shade, made to resemble French sandstone. The windows are painted in a gold brown oak color. None of the original wallpaper was kept but wallpaper based on nearby Drottningholm Palace was used.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.