History in Kungälv

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Bohus fortress

Bohus fortress

Morsan

The pride of the city
The building of the Bohus fortress started in 1308 by the Norwegian king Haakon V Magnusson as adefence for the most southerly Norweigian border. Bohus fortess was known as one of the biggest, strongest and massive of fortresses.
The area around the river Göta Älv and the mouth of Nordre Älv was very early of great impotance to the three northen countries, Sweden, Norway and Danmark. It was the border of Danmark, in the south, Sweden in the east and Norway in the north In the west, there was only water. Until 1658 Göta Älv was the international boundary between Norway and Sweden. Wars, within and amongst the three neighbourhood countries during the 13th and 14th centuries lead to the construction of several "firm houses"  in the area. In the medeival chronical of Erik it was told of the coming of Bohus or "Bagahus" castle in the year of 1308 at Bagaholmen, exactly where Göta Älv surrounds the island of Hisingen (today a part of Gothenburgh).


The Medieval fortress
Bohus became, in the first place, a military support point for armoured cavalleries of the Norweigian kings but also an administrative centre for the surrounding province. It had a very dominating position on its cliff islet surrounded by natrual, deep moats and was soon considered to be the strongest in northern Europe. Already in 1300 Bohus was the most important residence for the Swedish/Norwegian king and his wife Blanche of Namur (Belgium) the storytellers' Queen of Blanka. During the whole medievial period the fortress hostedgouvernmental meetings, amusement and festivities with the Northen countries governmental men and women. During the 15th and 16th centuries the Norvegians claimed a special border tax, the so called Bohus tax of the vessels on the river (Göta älv). This became one of the reasons why the city of Lödöse around 1470 was moved further south to become one of the bygoners to our days of Gothenburgh,

Bohus as a prison
Most of the old fortresses have been used as state prisons and Bohus is not an exception. During the medieval times it was mostly political antagonists who was put in "the tower". During the big expansion of Sweden, in the 1600-hundreds prisoners were obviosly used for heavy work together with soldiers and the day labourers, while the construction works were done by highly skilled craftsmen. The most famous prisoner of the fortress was the pietist and preacher, Thomas Leopold, who was put to prison in different periods during, in total, 43 years, for his alleged doctrins.

The ruin
During parts of the 19th century the ruins of Bohus was used as a quarry by the citizens of Kungälv. For instance Kungälvs Vandrarhem (Youth Hostel), is built of stones from the former fortress. The permit to collect stones from the fortress was withdrawn but during the rest of the century the ruin was totally open to wind and water. Fortifikationsverket (an governmental office that is reponsible for old castles and other military buildings) started certain protection works in the beginning of the 20th century. During 1920-30 exavations and reastauration work started. The ruin is today a governmental memorial building and is kept by the Byggnadsstyrelen. Restauration work is constantly ongoing to keep the fortress in shape.

Contributors
November 10, 2007 change by ingvar (2 points)
July 03, 2006 change by giorgio
July 03, 2006 change by morsan

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