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

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Don Balduf (2 years ago)
The castle was built in the 1300s by the Swedes when the kingdom of Sweden controlled Åland. It has passed through several uses and has been wrecked by fire at least twice over the centuries. For some time it was used as a granary, but has since been nicely restored. Guided tours are available in several languages, but if your timing doesn't suit a tour, the printed guidebook and signage in the castle will give you plenty of information. Some of the restoration of the interior is speculative because little is known about the furnishings, but the restoration follows what is known about other castles of the same era, so the general idea is probably accurate. Kastelholm is definitely worth your time.
Pasi (2 years ago)
Loads of history, beautiful scenery and very good people working with lots of knowledge and were able to answer all of our questions. Most intriguing is the story of Erik XIV and why he was kept inprisioned here by none other than hos own brother John III so be sure to ask or read about this.
Jesper Biveros (2 years ago)
A must see when visiting Åland. Really nice to have a walk in the area, no matter the time of the year. Summer is of course the most pleasant.
Johan Westling (2 years ago)
Castle from back when Åland was part of the big kingdom of Sweden. The castle has been rebuilt to large extents after fire but still is supposed to be fairly authentic to how it was. There is a treasure hunt for the kids that involve map reading and treasure chests puzzles which is a nice way to get the kids excited. Most parts has quite big stairs, so not the most accessible place. Also some of the highest part of the castle is not for the people scared of heights.
Lubica Vysna (2 years ago)
Kastelholm Castle is really lovely stone ruined castle surrounded by lake and meadows. Employees were really friendly and answered all our questions about the history of the castle. As a bonus, kids really enjoyed it too, while they looked for a treasure. This is how visiting a castle is fun for all the family :) In the last chamber we might dress into various costumes and it was super interesting for kids too. Totally recommended​!
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