Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kronborg, the home of Hamlet

Kronborg, the fortress in the shape of a star, located at Helsingør is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It is placed in the northeast of Sjælland, at the narrowest point of the Øresund sound that separates Denmark and Sweden. During the history, it had a great importance due to its strategical location. Kronborg and Kärnan (the castle located in Helsingborg on the other side of Øresund) were controlling the entrance to the Baltic sea.

Back in 15th century, Eric of Pomerania built a fortress there, called Krogen, to force all the ships entering or leaving Baltic Sea to pay taxes. Later on in 1585, Frederik II build an amazing Rennesaince castle and called it Kronborg. The castle became famous in the whole Europe due to its size and style. The castle suffered a lot when it burned almost completely in 1629 (only the chapel survived), being restore back to its beauty by Christian IV. The fortress prooved to be not so invincible when the Swedish armies conquered it in 1658. After that, Kronborg was fortified by building new ramparts around it, becoming one of the safest fortress in Europe.

A large part of 18ths and 19th century, the castle was used as a prison, the convicts being forced to work to fortify the castle, being guarded by the soldiers. Queen Caroline Mathilde , sister of George III was the most famous person imprisoned here.
Maybe the largest part pf the fame that the castle is having around the world comes from William Shakespeare's famous tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The story is placed at Kronborg, called Elsinore by Shakespeare (the English name of Helsingør) and it paints the noble society using a broad range of themes including treachery, incest moral corruption and revenge. Hamlet is a fictional character, having no resemblance with any real life personality of Denmark history.

Here is usually colder and windier than in the rest of Sjælland. And sometimes, very foggy, as you can see in these pictures. But it worth going there and admiring the greatness of one of the most famous fortress in European history. In terms of transporation, you can get there by taking a regional train, from either Hellerup or Central Station. The official information about the castle can be found at Kronborg Slot

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