Kronborg Castle and Karmeliter Monastery in Elsinore – two jewels of danish history and architecture

Kronborg Slot og Karmeliter Klosteret i Helsingør – to juveler i dansk historie og arkitektur

Text and photo by Erik K Abrahamsen

The visions of King Erik 7 of Pommern gives birth to Kronborg Castle, Karmeliter Monastery and the economic growth of Elsinore town:


Kronborg Castle founded by King Erik 7 of Pommern in 1427 as a fortress named "Krogen". Enlarged by King Frederik 2 in 1574-85 in style Nederlandsk-Renaissance. Guns points in direction east to the Straits of Øresund. Photo: 12. october 2008

After King Erik 7 of Pommern 2 years pilgrimage voyage to Jerusalem 1423-25 he made the foundation of Kronborg Castle, Karmeliter Monastery and  gave privilege to expand the size and economy of Elsinore town. In 1410 King Erik 7 of Pommern had invited The Karmelites monks to Scandinavia and in 1427 he gave them landed property in Elsinore to build a monastery.

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Karmeliter Monastery with Sct. Mariae Church:

Karmeliter Monastery in Elsinore. In front the east wing of the monastery. At left Sct. Mariae Church as south wing of the monastery. View from the monastery garden. Karmeliter Monastery founded 1430 and builded from 1450-1500. Photo: 7. october 2011

King Erik 7 of Pommern needed money to rule Denmark and ordered all ships sailing through the danish straights to pay for passing. In the straights of Øresund all ships to The Baltic Sea had to stop in Elsinore to pay the tax: Sundtolden. To set force behind his decision he build the fortress “Krogen” on a point at the seashore of Øresund in Elsinore. The fortress “Krogen” was rebild and enlarged by King Frederik 2 in 1574-85 in style Nederlandsk-Renaissance and got the name Kronborg Castle.

To help the town of Elsinore to expand economicaly The king Erik 7 builded facilities for the ships on ancher in Elsinore to buy proviants to the ships. This gave birth to  wealth and  a international atmosphere the next centuries in Elsinore .

Elsinore, Northzealand, Denmark:

Elsinore, Northzealand, Denmark. In 1426 King Erik 7 of Pommern gave the town merchants privilege to develope commerce (Købstadsprivilegier). With the introduction of the "Sundtolden" all ships in and out of the Baltic Sea had to ancher at Elsinore to pay the tax. That gave the ships time to buy proviant from the merchants in Elsinore. Elsinore expanded in size, inhabitants and wealth the next 4-500 hundreds years. Today there are hundreds of buildings more then 2-400 years old all over the town. Here on the picture 5 small houses from 17-1800 at neighbour to Karmeliter Monastery and "Karmeliterhuset" from 1516-90 and today Elsinore Town Museum. In the background: The Cathedral Sct Olai builded 1400- 1521. Photo: 7. october 2011

The tax “Sundtolden” gave the Danish Kings money for warefare and castlebuilding the following 400 years. The tax “Sundtolden” (Øresundstolden)  stopped by international pressure in 1857 with the a tractat called “Øresundstraktaten”. Øresund is today international water with free passage without any expenses for the internationall ship traffic in and out of The Baltic Sea.

King Erik 7 of Pommern had succeeded Queen Margrethe 1 (1387-1412). Through Margrethe´s marriage to King Haakon of Norway she gave birth to a boy Olav, who became King of Denmark in 1475, only 5 years old. When his father King Haakon of Norway died in 1380 the 10 years boy Olav  was elected as King of Norway. King Olav of Denmark and Norway died in 1387, only 17 years old. His mother succeeded him as Queen Margrethe 1 of Denmark and Norway. This union between Denmark and Norway under a danish monarch lasted from 1380 untill 1814, all i all 434 years.

Kronborg Castle and Fortress was extended by King Frederik 2 from 1574-85 to a brilliant Renaissance Castle with brickwork construction of sandstone and roof of cupper and with 4 bastions, ramparts and moats. After a big fire in 1629 which destroyed big parts of the castle except the church Kong Christian rebuilded it to what you see today.

Kronborg Castle in Elsinore:

Kronborg Castle, Elsinore. Plan of the castle from above. At left the south wing with the original Church builded 1574-85 by King Frederik 2. Top of the photo is the west wing with the gate "Kronværksporten"(not on the photo). At right is the north wing of the castle and in front the east wing and the seashore of Øresund. Photo: 12. october 2008

Württembergs Ravelin: the outer defence line og Kronborg Castle:

The outer defence line with moat and rampart builded by King Christian 5 in 1690 to protect against invasion. View to the west wing of Kronborg Castle. The bridge at right leads to Württembergs Ravelin and the main entrance: "Kronværksporten". Photo: 13. october 2011

In 1690 his grandchild King Christian 5 builded an outer defence line of moats and ramparts and a new entrance to the west called “Kronværksporten”:

Kronværksporten. Kronborg Castle, Elsinore. The west gate build with outer ramparts and moats by King Christian 5 in 1690. Photo: 12. october 2008

Kronværksp0rten from 1590:

Kronværksporten builded by King Christian 5 in 1690, when Kronborg Castle was enlarged wit an outer defense line with moats and ramparts and a new ravelin which leads to this fabulous entrance. Look at all the details. The swan is the national bird of Denmark. Here at the gate to Kronborg Castle it seems that the three young swans enjoy their status!! Click on the photo and use your zoom control and you see them in full screen size. Photo: 12. october 2011

Kronborg Castle – view to the west wing:

Kronborg Castle, Elsinore. The west wing of the castle. The inner defence line of ramparts and moats. Photo: 12. october 2008

Kronborg Castle. At left the east wing and at right the north wing of the castle. In front of the 2 wings guns pointing in direction east and north to the Strait of Øresund (Photo: 12. october 2008):

Kronborg Castle with “Flagbastionen” in front of the castle with guns pointing in direction Øresund. Photo: 2008

Eastwing of Kronborg Castle with ramparts and guns seen from the seashore of Øresund. Photo: 12. october 2008

Kronborg Castle – the east wing:

The east and south wing with the churchtower of Kronborg Castle seen from the seashore of Øresund. Photo: 12. october 2008

Kronborg Castle south wing with the Castle Church builded 1574-85:

Kronborg Castle south wing with the tall steeple of the Castle Church. Photo: 12. october 2008

The inner yard of Kronborg:

The inner yards of Kronborg castle. Photo: 13. october 2011

Inside Kronborg Castle:

Room in the east wing of Kronborg Castle. Photo: 13. october 2011

The Dance Hall:

The Dance Hall in Kronborg Castle is the biggest in nothern Europe, 62 meter long and 12 meter wide. The paintings on the walls are from the Great Hall in Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen painted 1618-31. Photo: 13. october 2011

The kronborg Church from 1582:

Kronborg Church builded by King Frederik 2 from 1574-85. Concecrated in 1582. The church survived the big Kronborg castle fire in 1629. Photo: 13. october 2011

Kronborg Church from 1582. View in direction to the pulpit. Photo: 13. october 2011

Sundtolden – tax to The King from all ships passing Øresund Straits:

Sundtolden. Tax to be paid to the danish kings form all passing ships through the danish straghts introduced by King Erik 7 of Pommern about 1420. Lasted untill 1857. Photo: 13. october 2011

Flagbastionen:

Flagbastionen. Guns fabricated at Frederiksværk Powder Mill in 1760 pointing at direction east to Øresund and Helsingborg - from 1660 a part of Sweden. The former danish provinces Skåne, Halland and Bleinge were lost to Sweden in the Danish-Swedish war 1657-60. Photo: 13. october 2011

View from the entrance gate “Kronværksporten” in direction  west to Elsinore Town:



The outer defence line with moats and ramparts of Kronborg Castle. In the background Elsinore town with Sct. Olai Church at left and Karmaliter Monastery and Sct. Mariae Church at right. Photo: 12. october 2008

Karmeliter Monastery with Sct Mariae Church builded 1450-1500: The Karmeliter Monastery is one of the best preserved monasteries in Scandinavia

Karmeliter Monastery and Sct. Mariae Church as south wing of the monastery. In front the west wing of the monastery. Builded 1540-1500 and still in excellent building quality after more than 500 years. Photo: 12. october 2008

Sct. Mariae Church in Karmeliter Monastery builded 1450-1500. Elsinore. Photo: 12. october 2008

Sct Mariae Church in Karmeliter Monastery. Photo: 12. october 2008

Sct. Mariae Church in Karmeliter Monastery with frescos. Photo: 12. october 2008

Sct. Mariae Church in Karmeliter Church. Frescos. Photo: 12. october 2008

The inner yard of Karmeliter Monastery:

Karmerliter Monastery. The inner yard of the monastery. Photo: 12. october 2008

Karmeliterhuset (House of Karmeliter):

Karmeliterhuset builded 1516-90 as hospital and part of Karmelite Monastery. Later asylum for poor people and today the building is Elsinore Town Museum. Photo: 7. october 2011

Karmelite Monatery Garden:

Karmerliter Monasteries Garden with Elsinore Bishops administration building back in the picture. Photo: 7. october 2011

View fra Karmelite Monatery Garden to Kronborg Castle at Øresund:

View from Karmerliter Monastery Garden in direction east to Kronborg Castle at the coast of Øresund. Photo: 7. october 2011

I find it fascinated, that King Erik 7 of Pommern´s vision about a fortress, a monastery, a church and a town is full alive today after nearly 600 years.

Other architecs and danish kings had builded on his vision and created this unique masterpieces in quality, style and architecture.

Thats why I call Kronborg Castle, The Karmeliter Monastery and Sct. Mariae Church as jewels in the danish history and architecture.

A vision under construction at Kronborg Castle and the old shipyard and dry dock in Elsinore Harbour:

Kulturområde Helsingør – Culture Area Elsinore

with

Kulturhavn Kronborg (Culture Harbour Kronborg) and Kulturværftet (The Culture Yard)

Kulturområde Helsingør, Culture Area Elsinoer: a new culture experiences at Kronborg Castle og Elsinore Harbour. Click on the picture and use your zoom control and you will see it in fullescreen size. Photo: 7. october 2011

Kulturværftet – The Culture Yard:

Kulturværftet - The Culture Yard under construction in the old Shipyard buildings from 1882. At right the empty dry dock under construction to be: Maritim Museum. Photo: 7. october 2011

Culture Area of Kronborg Castle and Elsinore Harbour:

Culture Area of Kronborg Castle and Elsinore Harbour: a vision under construction in the old Elsinore Shipyard og the old dry dock.In front: a sculpture exhibition. Photo from Elsinore Harbour area 7. october 2011

According to the plan The Maritime Museum in the dry dock of Elsinore Shipyard will open 2013.

Map of Elsinore Municipality. Elsinore town and Øresund at right in the picture. Photo: 12. october 2008

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Copyright text and photos Erik K Abrahamsen

All rights reserved 2011 Copenhagen, 9. october 2011

Updated 14. october 2011

With love

Erik

1 Comment

  1. I find Kronborg fascinating too. And it is not just that it was Hamlet’s place, but the place is so unique and alive. It is distinct from many European castles.

    The pictures you’ve taken are beautiful! When I traveled there it was a rainy day …