A massive fortress in downtown Gothenburg
Stunning views and a historic atmosphere is what awaits you at Skansen Kronan. The beautiful citadel from the 17th century is definitely worth your visit in Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden. This masterpiece has never seen war and with only a little help from renovations it now sits on top of a hill in all its former glory. From there you have a fantastic view onto the city! Because of its location in the city center and the round shape you get a 360° panoramic view of everything that the city has to offer. During the day the colorful houses surrounding the Skansen Kronan shimmer in bright red, orange or yellow. The sunset at Skansen Kronan is a highlight in itself.
The queen of all fortresses
Skansen Kronan is an octagonal fort with a height of 33 meters (108 ft.) and walls as thick as 7 meters (23 ft). Inside this massive fort are many different kinds of weaponry. The canons were placed there in case of war, but luckily you can admire the canons in excellent condition. On top of the roof resides a wooden crown with gold-plated cooper embellishments as large as to fit 12 people within. That is where the fortress got her name because “Skans” in Swedish means fortress and “Kronan” means crown. Ever since 1935 Skansen Kronan is a National Monument and belongs to the National Cultural Heritage.
Two is better than one
That is what Erik Dahlbergh thought too. The about two weeks younger Skansen Lejonet is the forts twin sister. The slightly smaller building with a height of 29 meters (95 ft) and walls as thick as 7 meters (23 ft) was pronounced a National Monument in 1935.
Besides being located 10 minutes away from Skansen Kronan and other smaller dissimilarities the greatest difference lies in the name and on what you will find on the roof. When Skansen Lejonet was first built it carried a Lion with crown, sword and shield on its top - “Lejonet” means Lion in Swedish. The Lion was made out of wood and was just covered with a lead layer in the middle of the 18th century. Therefore the people were worried it might rot inside the shell and eventually fall off the roof. They replaced the lion with a wooden ball in 1741. After a large fire in 1891 the people felt like the lion should prance upon the roof yet again. The architect Eugen Thorburn designed the new lion – considering the mistakes made in the past.
Historic monument by day, party fortress at night
The Skansen Kronan is not used for military purposes anymore. The main usage of the Skansen Kronan today is for private parties, birthday celebrations, christenings, engagement parties and weddings, graduation events and much more. With a simple reservation you can book the room, food and other provided services at the party fortress. Within the fortress there is a small cafe open for everyone from May until the end of Summer. Seen as very special is the Christmas Dinner at Skansen Kronan which is why you will find an extra section about it on the website. Another highlight for history freaks is the guided tour through the fortress. With only 25 Euros (18 British Pounds/ 27 US Dollar) you will get a better look into the history of Skansen Kronan and her sister fortress as well as the full work up on the weaponry and the current usage of the fort. The tour will last about 40 minutes.
Haga, the oldest quarter of Gothenburg
When visiting the fortress make sure you take a stroll through the district of where its built in. The Queen of Sweden Christina founded the quarter in the middle of the 17th century which makes Haga the oldest neighborhood in Gothenburg. At first it was built “to be destroyed”, meaning if war came to Sweden the people wouldn’t mind if Haga were destroyed especially since the district lay outside of the city’s defensive wall. In the middle of the 19th century it turned into a worker quarter with many companies and businesses before it officially became a residential area. Today Haga is most known for its picturesque houses. Most of them were refurbished a while ago. You will also find cute little boutiques for clothes, shoes, home decorations and toys. Many people come here to the great restaurants and coffee shops. Tip: The locals sit outside most of the time even if its cold – then they just bring a blanket. Haga is a very historic but at the same time a very modern quarter to visit as well as to do some shopping or to simply grab a bite to eat.
Construction for Skansen Kronan began in 1687 where it was originally built as a redoubt to protect the city. It was opened in 1698 and equipped with 23 canons. Because the feared attacks never took place the canons still remain in the fortress untouched and have never been used in battle. The walls of the fort are 4 to 7 meters (13 ft to 23 ft) thick and made out of granite and other stone materials. The roof on the other hand was at the time of its construction made out of wood and has been replaced several times ever since. The plans for construction were developed supposedly by the Swedish engineer, soldier and field marshal Count Erik Jönsson Dahlbergh. Approved were said plans by the former King of Sweden Karl XI from 1660 til 1697 and he himself inspected the fortress once it was finished. At the northern part of the fortress you will find a stone engraved with his name in his memory.
How to get there
Starting at Gothenburg City Airport it is a half hour drive to the site. From the airport you can also take buses, but since you have to change three times it is recommended you take a car.
If you are in the city center of Gothenburg you will have no problem reaching the citadel. From various hotels you can walk to the fortress in 15 minutes.
Starting in Västra Frölunda
From the city center start driving in northeastern direction onto the highway Dag Hammarskjöldsleden and follow the road for about 5 kilometers (3.1 mi). Once you reach a roundabout take the exit in the direction of Övre Husargatan. After a couple of hundred yards turn onto the street of Risåsgatan. At the first intersecting street turn right onto Kastellgatan and you should reach your destination.
Starting in Mölndal
From the city center drive onto the highway Söderleden and follow the road for about 3 minutes and keep right. You will then automatically change onto the highway Dag Hammarskjöldsleden. Follow said road until you reach the roundabout taking the exit in the direction of Övre Husargatan in Gothenburg. After a couple of hundred yards turn onto the street of Risåsgatan. At the first intersecting street turn right onto Kastellgatan and you should reach your destination.
Starting in Kungälv
Drive onto the E45 in the direction of Gothenburg and follow the road for about 25 minutes. Take the exit Järntorgsmotet. Then drive onto the Nya allén street and from there onto the Sprängkullsgatan street, turn onto Risåsgatan until you reach the Kastellgatan street. You should reach your destination in a couple of hundred yards.
When you are in the city of Gothenburg you should have no problem getting to the fortress. A possible bus and tramway stop is Göteborg Prinsgatan. A tramway station even closer would be Göteborg Brunnsgatan. The city has a great bus and train network which is why various buses and city trains will get you to your goal.
From Skansen Kronan to Skansen Lejonet you can take the city train number 1 from Göteborg Prinsgatan to Göteborg Svingeln (about 13 min. ride). From the station it is just a 2 minute walk.