A Crown Glistens in Gothenburg: Skansen Kronan

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ATHENA Ethical MEDIA

A crown glistens in Gothenburg: Skansen Kronan. The crown is a striking landmark located on the top of a hill. The crown is Skansen Kronan.

 

Skansen Kronan is a striking landmark on top of a hill called Skansberget, and it is in the heart of Gothenburg and at a walking distance from Avenyn and Järntorget.

Skansen Kronan – the Crown Redoubt is the 400-year+old city’s 17th century fortifications. In the 17th century Gothenburg, there were threats from surrounding countries and fortifications dotted the city. SKansen Kronan was one of the impenetrable fortifications, and famed for its structure and location and earned the reputation as ‘the best defended city in the Nordic region’.

Erik Dahlbergh was in-charge of building this fortification in 1674, and also as the key spots for Sweden’s defences, and work started in 1687. On this spot earlier stood a fortification known as the Rijsåsen ridge and it served as the foundation for Skansen Kronan.

The arched gateway leading to the fortress

Redoubt means a barrier, bastion, buttress, citadel, defense, fort, fortress, stronghold.

Skansen Kronan is a four-storeyed fort and topped with a crown of gilded wood but shines like a gold. Around the stone fortress, ramparts and walls were built. From the tower and the fortress, the soldiers’ got the best view of the city to defend and fire with cannon balls. With different levels and different directions, the cannons got the perfect point to fire cannon balls at those enemies streaking into the city either by river or by the sea. From this position atop the bare ridge, attackers could be spotted early and fired easily.

Below Rijsåsen, Dahlberg had a capnier built and its ramparts and moats offered protected access to fortified Gothenburg.

The 18th century Gothenburg had two striking fortifications: Skansen Kronan and Skansen Lejonet (Westgötha Leijon on Gulbergsklippan). Interestingly, neither Skansen Kronan nor Skansen Lejonet faced the situation to defend the city by firing cannons but they prevented the would-be attackers.

Armed with two fortifications, Gothenburg entered into 19th century as the centre of trade, and by 1807 many minor fortifications around the city were demolished to create space but these forts were spared (and stand today as testimony to the past) because they did not obstruct the construction activity and they were on top of hills (ridges).

The Skansen Kronan lost its functionality for there were no wars and neglected and deteriorated but it was used for another purposes: as a prison and as a shelter for emergency housing.

By the end of 19th century, Gothenburg had encircled the hill (now known as Skansberget) with house after house and the houses touched Skansen Kronan’s ramparts and bastions and cannons. By 20th century, Skansen Kronan has become a park. Småfåglarnas vänner, a society, started to turn the area into a greener and filled the rocky spots with soil and planted trees, and its visitors were welcomed in 1904. In 1905, Oscar II opened a military museum in the renovated fortress, and it became a listed building in 1935, and managed by National Property Board of Sweden (Statens fastighetsverk).

In 21st century, Skansen Kronan is the platform for fine viewings, for a walk over an uphill and for events (fest & evenemang).