måndag 7 juli 2014

Varberg Fortress

The rock that the fortress is built on has been used for guarding the inhabitants since prehistoric times. It was not untill the 13th century that a stronghold was built here when Jacob Nielsen, the owner of northern Halland, was accused of murdering the king. The northern parts of the castle is from that time.

 The wars between the Danish and the Swedes caused Varberg to change kingdoms eight times during the 14th century but the Danes won in the end and it remained Danish for almost another three hundred years. The defense of the castle had to improve and a fortress started to take shape in 1588.

The improvements contintued and about 1000 farmers worked each day, during 30 years. In 1618 it was one of the most modern defence buildings in Europe. It never had to be used as such however because in 1645 a peace treaty was signed between Denmarc and Sweden where Sweden got Halland.
The prison.
 The fortress was a military station untill 1830 when Karlsborg became a more important military base. The fortress had always housed prisoner but from 1548-1881 it was the home of around 400-500 interns at all time. In 1856 a real prison was built (see picture). The prisoners worked as stonemasons during their time in prison.

 During the 20th century the fortress became a museum but it also houses a bed and breakfast, a restaurant and buildings with apartments. The museum is the home of the famous Bockstensman (a bog man) and the button that supposedly killed king Karl XII in 1718.
One of the reenactors at the museum.

The outdoor café.
My personal connection to the fortress is my great great great [...] grandfather Mogens Mormand who was the commander on the fortress when it finally became Swedish. I do not know much about him but I plan to find out as much as I can.

My partner also has a personal connection. His great great grandfather was an intern after killing his wife with arsenic in hopes of marrying her sister. He was a prisoner in 1881 when it ceased to be a prison and was moved to Långholmen in Stockholm. I think he was finally let out as an old man. You can hear about him and also other prisoners in a short movie on the museum's web page, it is called Behind Closed Doors: http://www.hkm.varberg.se/english/


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