Bohus Fortress

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Bohus Fortress, 2005

The fortress Bohus ( Swedish fästning Bohus , originally Bagahus to the island Bagaholm on which it is located, then Bahus or Bahus ) is the ruins of a former fortress in the city of Kungälv (King River), 20 km north of Gothenburg . It lies on a high rock above the fork in the river , where the Göta älv and Nordre älv separate. Since the Göta älv marked the border between Sweden and Norway until the Peace of Roskilde in 1658 , the fortress was of considerable strategic importance as a Norwegian border security. The name of the surrounding landscape Bohuslän is derived from the fortress Bohus .


The construction of the fortress was started in 1308 by the Norwegian King Håkon V. Magnusson in order to conquer the nearby fortress Ragnhildsholm , which the Swedish Duke Erik Magnusson had in his power. The house , which was initially made of wood, quickly became one of the most important Norwegian places for mastering the border river Göta and, thanks to the stone fortifications, also one of the strongest fortifications in all of Scandinavia . Bagaholm - the island on which the fortress was located - was the court of law for the judicial district of Viken and the district captain of Bohus ruled first over the southern and later also over the northern part of the landscape.

Bohus Fortress 1869

Bohus played an important role in the behavior of the two frontier realms, both peaceful and hostile. In 1333 the Nordic gentlemen's day was gathered on Bohus, which Magnus Eriksson declared of age. There his son Håkan paid homage to the Norwegian king in 1344 and it was there in 1388 that Håkan’s widow Margarethe received the offers of the Swedish princes for the Swedish crown. The following year King Albrecht was imprisoned there . At Bohus, part of the Norwegian princes Karl Knutsson Bonde canceled the Norwegian king. In 1455/56 the castle was a safe haven for Danes and Norwegians from the Swedish leader Tord Bonde .

The fortress was besieged several times but never taken. Christian II besieged it in 1531, the Swedes surrounded it six times in the Three Crown War between 1563 and 1570. In March 1566, when Nils Boije and Nils Sture carried out four assaults, the Swedes managed to take the so-called Red Tower , but they were blown up with it when the Norwegians set fire to the powder supply in the tower itself. This event is known as the Swedish strike (svensksmälla) or Bohusischer Knall .

Fars Hatt, 2005
Mors mössa, 2008

After the war, Bohus was converted into a modern fortress by means of star-shaped bastions until 1604. Further alterations were made between 1640 and 1660 by Isaac von Gellkirck . In 1645 the Swedes shelled the castle during the so-called Hannibal feud . The main structure of the fortress at that time was a square with towers, of which the northwestern one (called Fars hatt , dt. Father's hat ) was square, while the other three (the southwestern one was called Mors mössa , dt. Mother's hat ) were round. In the middle of the western side was the red tower, Röda tornet , in which the chapel was located. The outer work formed an irregular heptagon.

After the Peace of Roskilde Bohus came into Swedish possession, on March 30, 1658 Karl X. Gustav was able to move into the fortress.

During the Gyldenlöv feud , there was one final siege, the heaviest of all. This siege by 15,000 Norwegians under Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve , which lasted almost two months (25 May to 22 July 1678) , meant that the fortress would have had to surrender if Gustaf Otto Stenbock had not come to her aid at the last minute. The almost completely destroyed castle was rebuilt, the Fars hatt was rebuilt in its now known round shape.

Bohus was the residence of the head of state of Bohuslän until 1700. Since it was no longer a frontier fortress, however, it had lost much of its military importance. Under the reign of Charles XII. the administration of Bohuslän was shifted to Gothenburg, the cannons were moved to Sundsborg in Svinesund , which was of great value as a border post against Norway . After the death of Charles XII. However, Bohus got his equipment back.

Bohus Fortress, 2005
Ground plan and site plan of the fortress

After that, the fortress was used as a prison for a while. Her most famous prisoner was the pietist and preacher Thomas Leopold , who was imprisoned for his alleged heresy for various lengths of time, a total of 42 years, 32 years on Bohus. When Sweden was in economic trouble in 1789, the citizens of Kungälv were given the right to use the fortress as a quarry; In this context it was decided to demolish the fortress, only the Fars tower was spared. The demolition work was prohibited in 1796, but the next year the citizens of Kungälv were given the right to get stones again. In the 19th century attempts were made to dismantle Fars hatt except for a remnant, until Karl XIV. Johann forbade further destruction in 1838. Extensive excavation and conservation work then took place in the years 1898–1904. Extensive restoration began in 1934, including the rebuilding of the main gate. The restoration continues to this day.

In 1935 the fortress was placed under state protection as Byggnadsminne . Today it is open to the general public from April to September and is a popular attraction during the summer season. Among other things, Thomas Leopold's cell can be visited. In July there has been a medieval festival on the fortress for a few years in memory of the meeting of the Three Kings in 1101.


  • Bernhard Kummer: The Bohus Fortress and the City of Konungahella , Publishing House for Research Issues of Our Time , Lienau 1957
  • Kungälvs Turistkontor: Bohus fästning , Kungälv o. J.

Web links

Commons : Bohus Fortress  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 57 ° 51 ′ 42 "  N , 11 ° 59 ′ 58"  E