You will find Kronborg Castle - one of the most significant renaissance castles in the whole of Europe - by the town of Elsinore (in Danish: helsing'r), on the north tip of Zealand.
Kronborg Castle is dated back to the 1420's, built by Eric of Pomerania (Erik af Pommeren).
Kronborg is a fortress. If you look at where it is situated - by the narrowest part of the sound of Oresund - no doubt is was meant to keep intruders off of the Danish ground.
King Erik of Pomerania insisted on the payment of sound dues by all ships wishing to enter or leave the Baltic, and the castle was built to enforce his payment rules. He named the castle Krogen.
Later on in history the castle was rebuilt by King Frederik lll and was renamed "Kronborg", and he turned the castle into a magificent renaissance castle.
Through history fire has always been one of the biggest dangers for these huge castles and Kronborg is no exeption. In 1629 two careless workers caused the entire castle to suffer the flames.
Only the chapel was spared. With huge effort the later King Christian lV put the exteriors back to it's original magnificant self.
From 1739 until the mid 19th's century the castle was used as a prison. The inmates were put into two groups; the "honest ones" (those serving sentences for minor crimes) and the "dis-honest ones" (the murders, arsonists or crimes of violence). The honest ones were trusted to do work on the outside of the castle and the dis-honest ones has to do their hard labour on the inside of the castle ramparts wearing chains.
The royal importance of the castle diminished and armed forces took over the castle from the late 1700 until 1922 and the castle was completely run by the mailitairy through that period.
The English poet William Shakespeare immortalized Kronborg with his play "Hamlet", and every Dane knows the legende of the statue of Olgier the Dane (Holger Danske). He sleeps in the dungeon and this brave giant will awake and save Denmark, if the day comes that Denmark should be in great danger.
Kronborg is open to the public and absolutely worth a visit.
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