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.

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



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​!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Klis Fortress

From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.

Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.