Raasepori Castle

Raasepori, Finland

The Raseborg or Raasepori Castle is one the five remaining medieval castles in Finland. It was founded by Bo Jonsson Grip and it is thought that the castle's first phase was completed sometime between 1373 and 1378. The first written data about the castle is from 1378. Its main purpose was to protect Sweden's interests in southern Finland against the Hanseatic city of Tallinn. The castle was originally built on a small island in the north end of a sea bay. The historians think that the castle was built in 3 different stages over time from the 14th to the 16th century.

The ruins of the outer wall of the castle do still exist. According to the historians the outer wall was built to protect the foundations of the castle itself. When the use of the artillery got more common, it was vital to protect the basic walls of the castle. There was also one more protection outside the castle. That was a wooden barrier, which surrounded the castle and it prevented any foreign ships to approach the castle harbour. There still exists some small parts of that barrier. The barriers are today on the mainland, but in the 15th century they were located on a peninsula by the sea. The sea level became lower over time due to postglacial rebound, and it became increasingly difficult to approach the castle by boat. This is one of the main reasons why the castle lost its importance.

Battles were fought between Swedish and Danish forces and even pirates over control of the castle in the Middle Ages. The castle was abandoned in 1553, three years after Helsinki was founded in 1550 and Helsinki became strategically more important. Restoration work began in the 1890s and in these days the castle ruins are open to the public.

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Details

Founded: 1360-1378
Category: Castles and fortifications in Finland
Historical period: Middle Ages (Finland)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Linus Westerlund (3 years ago)
A cool looking and well preserved medieval castle.
Kristoffer Soderlund (3 years ago)
One of the older fortifications in Finland from the 14th century. Sadly it was abandoned and fell into quite bad shape. Nowadays preserved but not restored, some info is found inside the castle on plaques but I would suggest reading up on the history in advance, that way the castle tour is more meaningful.
Devon Morancie (3 years ago)
An awesome castle that reminds me of Game of Thrones. There is an open air theater across the road that has plays and musicals frequently as well for little money. The castle is fairly small and you can see the whole thing quite quickly, but it is still interesting!
Maria Nybäck (3 years ago)
Great facilities and esp the Medieval event in July is worth a visit.
Elizabeth Toney (3 years ago)
We were the first guests of the season, which was great because we got to explore the ruins all by ourselves! Really amazing place with a fascinating history.
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Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

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An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".