around the head of the 68-mile-long Oslofjord, Oslo is probably the most
spacious city in the world. Its 175-square-mile metropolitan area
consists of over 75 percent forests and five percent water. Its fine
deep harbor, Pipervika, stretches into the heart of the city and from it
leave ferries to Denmark and Germany.
Hamlet's Legendary Castle or Not? by Bob Brooke
When people think of Elsinore, they immediately
conjure up deep, dark, mysterious images of the castle in
Shakespeareís play, Hamlet. But, in fact, Shakespeare never traveled
to Denmark, at least as far as anyone knows. And Elsinore is the
town. The castle, referred to in his play, is Kronborg.
In 1412, when Erik of Pomerania ascended to the throne of Denmark,
he assumed leadership over a country united by King Valdemar
Atterdag, who ruled for 35 years from 1340 to 1375, and strengthened
by his daughter, Queen Margrethe I, who ruled from 1375 to 1412. The
Kingdom of Denmark had already become unified, and King Erikís goal
was to stabilize it.
But to do that, he needed money. To secure revenues, King Erik
introduced the Sound Duty, a fee imposed on all ships entering the
Sound. To defend the country he decided to fortify the narrow
seaward approach to the Sound between Elsinore and Helsingborg. On
the Scania shore was the fortress "Karnan" in Helsingborg, and a
short distance south of Elsinore stood Flynderborg. However, he
decided to build a new fortress, "Krogen", on the point northeast of
In 1574, King Frederik II, who reigned from 1559 to 1588, began to
rebuild and extend the medieval Krogen to the present Kronborg.
However, a fire heavily damaged most of the castle. Fortunately,
King Christian IV, the son of King Frederik, who occupied the throne
from 1588 to1648, decided to rebuild his father's castle, which
didnít require any great changes to its exterior.
The architect Hans van Paeschen started the rebuilding, but
Anthonius van Opbergen, also a royal master builder, finished it.
Both introduced several Dutch Renaissance architectural features.
Long horizontal cornices under the windows underlined the facades of
the Castle, topped off by the richly carved balustrade of the
watchman's gallery. The walls have a covering of quarry-faced
Scanian sandstone, but originally they had a covering of
horizontally placed sandstone in the Dutch Renaissance style just
like Frederiksborg Castle. Elsinore and the Sound, both dominated by
the Castle, add to the beauty of Kronborg
Today, the road to Kronborg leads through a system of fortifications
on the way from the railway station at the port past the Elsinore
Shipyard located within the former fortress area. On the left stands
a bridge leading to Wurttemberg's Ravelin, one of the two islands
lying in front of the Kronverk (Crown Work). On the way, visitors
pass the guardhouse, today converted into a restaurant and continue
over a long wooden bridge until they arrive at the Kronvxrk Gate
with its magnificent portal, built between 1688 and 1698 by
Christian V to provide Kronborg with a stronghold on the land side.
Once you pass the Kronverk Gate, youíll face the west wing of
Kronborg. On the right are several Army buildings. The main entrance
of the Castle rises before the inner courtyard. The Kronborg
Bastions stand guard over the castle.
The Big Square Tower, without a spire since a fire in 1629,
dominates the west wing of the Castle and the King's Tower to the
north. The north wing has probably always housed the Castleís main
entrance, originally placed a short distance from the present
entrance. Furthermore this wing is characterized by the most vital
bastion of the Castle, the famous underground casemates. Today, the
entrance is via a wooden bridge and through the MĘrkeport (Dark
Gate), the portal which has hardly undergone any changes since it
was erected in 1576. Beyond the shore stronghold, the east wing
shows a classical example of Dutch Renaissance in the Chapel Wing
gable, and the southeastern tower, Kakkelborg. The south wing shows
part of the Big Square Tower and Kakkelborg, but also the highest
tower of the Castle, the Trumpeter's Tower which you can see from
the Castle courtyard.
From its large courtyard the Castleís grey sandstone walls and green
copper roof, plus its big windows with sandstone casements, placed
regularly above each other, and its many entrances and towers invite
you to explore its interior.
Most of the Castle is open to the public. Begin by touring the Royal
Apartments in the north wing. Then enter the Great Hall, also known
as the Knights' Hall, one of the oldest rooms from the Danish
Renaissance and one of the largest halls in Europe, through the
Queen's long gallery in the east wing. From here, youíll be able to
enter the Church where you can admire its fine, well-restored
interior from the time of Frederik II. Then itís on through the
chambers and Royal Rooms in the west wing and finally a stroll
through the underground casemates where the Danish national hero
Holger Danske (Holger the Dane) keeps watch over his country.
According to legend, heíll wake up and fight when Denmark is in
Kronborg Castle is also the home of Handelsog Sofartsmuseet, the
Danish Maritime Museum. Founded in 1915 and one of the oldest and
largest maritime museums in the world, donít miss its collections
covering Danish shipping and trade from about 1400 until the present
day. The permanent exhibitions of the museum consist of a large
number of ships' paintings, ships' models, navigational instruments
together with collections concerning the previous Danish colonies in
India, the Caribbean, Greenland, as well as Danish trade with China.
For hundreds of years Kronborg Castle has been a landmark for
seafarers as they returned from afar. Today, itís become another
landmark for most tourists known as Hamletís Castle.
Every year about 95 000 people die in
Sweden and, according to the law, everyone must be buried. There must be
room for everyone in the cemeteries, therefore the future needs of space
have to be predicted. Because of this funerals must be part of the
the early Middle Ages, driven by famine at home and the promise of
wealth to be had in other lands, the Vikings set out from Scandinavia to
conquer parts of England, Ireland, France, Russia, and even Turkey.
Bolstered by their successes, the Vikings pushed westward, eventually
crossing the North Atlantic and founding settlements in Iceland,
Greenland, and Newfoundland in Canada. Read
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