Saturday, August 1, 2015

Castle Ruins – Gräfsnäs (3)

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Gräfsnäs Castle (or Castle Ruin) today consists of an only partially restored ruin surrounded by a dry moat. Once upon a time though, this was a palatial fortress in Swedish-French Renaissance style, oringinally built in the mid 1550s.

The castle was burnt to the ground three times: 1634, 1734 and 1834; and after the last fire it was never fully restored again.

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One old tale says that the fires were predicted already in the 1500s by a woman with reason to hate the family who owned the estate back then. She cast a curse on the place and said that it would burn three times, and after that remain derelict – which all came true…

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Image of the castle drawn by Erik Dalbergh in the late 1600s.
(from
Wikimedia)

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The castle before the last fire in 1834.

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The castle ruins are beautifully situated on a hill overlooking the lake Anten.

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(I did not walk down/up these stairs…)

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Finishing off our visit with tea/coffee at the modern café, also overlooking the lake.

10 comments:

  1. You are making me feel very envious.
    I don't know why but I found the painting very amusing.

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    1. I don't get to play tourist very often nowadays Adrian, but I try to make the most of it when I can :)

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  2. The castle ruins seem to have something of a strange atmosphere about them. I won't say spooky, but maybe a little grim. Possibly that's because of the first photos, where the iron bars in front of the doors and windows make me think of a prison.
    As for those steps down to the lake - you know I would not have hesitated to go down there :-)
    Three fires, each within a 100 year gap from the last... that's odd!

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    1. I think most castle ruins come with a ghost or two, Meike :)
      As I recall from visits in the past (decades ago), back then the ruins were in such bad state that the public was not allowed to enter them at all. I think that now, too, they only allow visitors during opening hours, even if they don't take an entrance fee. Hence the iron bars - to stop people from entering at any time, and/or where it's not safe to do so.

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  3. I was so busy taking in the castle ruins and trying to work out what was where that I didn't look at the paining properly. Thanks Adrian. It's a real gem. It made me laugh too. I have a feeling that the painter wasn't shedding any tears.

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    1. I think they like to make the most they can out of the dramatic stories attached to the place, Graham!

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  4. I am enjoying your holiday with you, and this is another lovely post with beautiful photos.
    The castle must have been something in its hey day, but it's nice to look through old broken discarded relics and try to imagine what purpose they served or why they were made initially. I found the stone with the head carved into it rather fascinating.
    As for the painting, it reminded me of a child's game we would play that had the words "Are you ready for a fight for we are the Roman soldiers!"
    Love your new header photo of the lake.

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    1. Virginia, back in the 1500s the owners of this castle was a powerful noble family by name of Leijonhufvud = Lionhead. One of their daughters, Margareta, was queen of Sweden 1536-1551; the second wife of king Gustav I (also known as Gustav Vasa).

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  5. The legend of the fires adds to the attraction of the place, I think. Sad that a structure once so grand should now be in ruins. (Mind you, I say that about myself sometimes, too!) Thankfully the beauty of the setting remains.

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    1. Well, I guess I can kind of understand if no one really felt like restoring it all again after the third fire, Pauline - with that curse attached and all :) ... I always feel kind of drawn to ruins myself, perhaps because they tickle the imagination.

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