Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bohus fortress through 700 years

Photo: Bohus fortress by Idarvol

As you drive on the motorway towards Göteborg, you suddenly see impressive stone structure resting on a cliff. It is the remains of Bohus fortress, a 700 year old fortification going back to when this part of Sweden belonged to the Norwegian kingdom. 

Royal seal of King Håkon V (died 1319)
So little is preserved from the Medieval era in Norway. Ironically, one of the best preserved buildings from the old Norwegian kingdom is found in Båhuslän. The work on this important fortress started in 1308, during the reign of Håkon V Magnusson, the last Norwegian king.

Earlier the main road between Oslo and Göteborg passed through the small municipality of Kungälv. That gave travelers a much better view of this impressive monument from the Middle Ages.

Now you need to know that it is there and stay alert to get a glimpse of the fortress as you drive on the new motorway, but if you do catch a glimpse of it you will see an impressive structure with a large round tower resting on a cliff overlooking the river below.  
Bohus fortress in 1658
Håkon V started works on two other important fortifications at the turn of the 14th century.

Akershus Fortress defended the capital city of Oslo from attacks from sea and land. To mark the extent of his Kingdom he built Vardøhus in Norways Arctic region, on the trade route from the Russian ports along its Northern coasts to the European continent. 
Much of Bohus fortress is no in ruins, but it was in fact extended beyond the original walls in the following centuries and it was an impressive castle and fortress during the 15th and 16th century.
The fortress was lost at to the Swedes at the Peace treaty of Roskilde as the Båhuslän area was given to Sweden permanently. The other Norwegian province that was lost was Jämtland and Härjedalen. As the fortress lost its importance as a border fortification, it slowly fell into decay.



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