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Kastelholm 1 Kastelholm towers up on a rocky cap. The name Kastelholm appears for the first time in 1388. The oldest part of the castle, the stronghold, was built at the top of the rocky rise. The tallest part of the structure is a gate tower, which was thought to have been built at the end of the 13th century, at the time when the parish churches in Äland where being rebuilt. The plan of Kastelholm Castle is typical of Saxon fortresses, which made full use of the nature of the terrain for encircling walls, and for grouping the buildings inside it.
Kastelholm 2 The strong hold consists of the palace (dwelling house), an inner courtyard and keep, and an entrance to the outer courtyard. The entrance was accessible only with the aid of a ladder or wooden staircase, which could be pulled up if enemies entered the yard. The gateway entrance included a drawbridge, and was first mentioned in 1543, when it was being repaired. The wall surfaces were plastered smooth and whitewashed. The walls of the royal chambers were pannelled in the lower parts, and the upper parts were hung with tapestries.
Kastelholm 3 The southern part of the stronghold consisted of an impregnable rock fort, resembling those by by the Crusaders in Syria and Palestine An encirling wall built around the outer courtyard on the northern part of the island, also encloses the eastern part with the well. The wall is more than two meters thick.
Kastelholm 4 The outer wall of the Castle is on the left, the inner castle on the right. You can see evidence of many changes to the castle during the hundreds of years that it has existed. The southern house shown here was probably built by Duke John, who had received Äland in fieff from his father Gustavus Wasa in 1556..
Kastelholm 5


The palace consists of a two room building of three storys, typical of medieval castles. The bottom floor consisted of two basements with a wooden ceiling resting on thick beams The vaults of the ceiling are unhewn stone. The Äland churches have similar vaults, indicating the same master builder was involved in building churches in Äland. The body of the building had no interior staircases or doors. Doors to the storys were on outer walls, and were built between the 12th and 13th centuries.

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