Gripsholm Castle (I)

Seen today along the shore of Lake Mälaren, with pleasure craft docked not too far away, Gripsholm Castle looks pleasant and peaceful. But it is actually a massively constructed brick and stone fortification, built by King Gustav Vasa (founder of the Vasa dynasty) in the 16th century as a refuge for his family in case Stockholm was attacked.

This is not the first castle on the site; an earlier castle was built in the 13th century, and even older Viking fortifications found a home here.

What would a traditional castle be without a drawbridge? This structure, complete with iron counterweights, was designed to raise the bridge in a hurry, forcing any attacking force to contend with either the moat or, on the opposite side of the castle, Lake Mälaren itself.

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Photos (c) 1997 Lawrence I. Charters

Revised October 25, 1997 lic
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