Kastelholma Castle

Sund, Finland

First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.

In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.

In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status. The castle started to decay and was used only as prison until it burnt down in 1745 and was finally abandoded in 1770.

Kastelholma is one of only five surviving Finnish medieval fortresses. Nowadays it is a major tourist attraction easily accessible by car or bus from Mariehamn. Excavated items, such as early stove tiles, are on exhibit in the hall. A medieval festival, replete with dance, food, and jousting occurs each year in July. The area around and down to Stornäset has become a royal estate with a golf course also available in the area.

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Address

Kungsgårdsallen 5, Sund, Finland
See all sites in Sund

Details

Founded: 1388
Category: Castles and fortifications in Finland
Historical period: Middle Ages (Finland)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Björn Pettersson (3 months ago)
This Castle is amazing! If you visit Åland Islands this is a must to visit. The Scandinavian history is built into these stone walls...
Jere Salonen (3 months ago)
Lovely place even outside the main season when the buildings are not accessible (at least during our visit (saturday, late october) they weren't). The place is very well kept and strolling around the peaceful grounds learning history was a blast. Will definitely recommend checking this gem out!
Sari H (5 months ago)
Very interesting castle to visit if history is your thing. It's not that well preserved but there's still some originality left so you still can get the historical view of the place. Admission fee also covers the small prison museum a couple of hundred metres away. It's also worth the visit.
Ville Nyyssönen (7 months ago)
Very pleasant and historical place to visit. Worth to see in Åland. There are also headsets to listen the historical story of this castle. Not sure how it is, however the views and sign posts tell enough for travelers. Don't forget to visit the prison and Jan Karlsgården around this place. For hungry people there is also a place to eat very cool food. Local lamb and some salmon soup. Go for it
Ilkka Väisänen (7 months ago)
Okey place, but there is not much to see inside and there is only very little information. Also it is only castle here so basically must see. At the end there is room where kids can play with some swords, shield, helmets and costumes. There is even little chainmail for the kids to wear. Most kids seem to love these few simple items so might be well worth of 8 euros entrance fee for adults and 5 euros for kids. Smallest kids go for free.
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Beckov Castle

The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.

The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.