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Castles of Sweden

Örebro

 
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Örebro Castle
Örebro

I've visited Örebro in the middle of August to do some shopping, but I also took the time to visit some tourist spots while I was there. All in all it was a great day!

Örebro has 125,000 inhabitants, which makes it the seventh largest town in Sweden. It is also a university city, which gives it a bit of a lively feel to it and a nice atmosphere. Örebro is located about 200 km from Stockholm and 300 km to both Gothenburg and Oslo. I've put Örebro in the region of Lake Mälaren on my webpages, although I know it is not exactly located in this region. It is actually located west of Lake Mälaren on the shores of lake Hjälmaren.

Örebro has some interesting tourist attractions and the most famous is the castle, which dates back to the 13th century.

The history of Örebro and its castle

Örebro Castle
Örebro Castle

I'll start my story about Örebro castle with a short version of its history. The building of castles in Sweden started with the strengthening of the king's power in the second part of the 13th century. Fortresses were built in the most important towns or (as is the case for Örebro) strategic points on important routes. The first time the fortress of Örebro was mentioned was in May 1364. Örebro has known quite a history, and has been besieged three times, in 1434, 1501 and 1521, but every time it withstood the assault. The strength of the fortification at Örebro lay in the combination of the thick high walls, plentiful water supply and impressive armaments.

In the last decade of the 16th century, the town and the castle had a golden period of growth. This was due to Duke Karl, who later became King Karl IX. Duke Karl turned the fortifications into a castle.

The present castle is the result of a comprehensive restoration from 1897-1900. The castle was 'upgraded' to give it 'a grander appearance, worthy of its rich past'.

The guided tour at Örebro Castle

Örebro Castle
Örebro Castle

To get some idea how life in the castle is, it's a nice idea to take a guided tour. A word of warning though, the castle itself is not so spectacular to see on the inside. So don't get any hopes of seeing a nicely and interesting decorated castle. There isn't anything left of the old interior, only a few items (mainly paintings) you can still see. The inside of the castle is now made for practical use, like offices and conference rooms. So I thought that was quite disappointing. But the stories the guide tell are quite nice, so that made the tour worth while for me.

The excursion takes about an hour and you hear all about how the life of the king in the castle was like. You hear stories about the big celebrations they used to have, and also about the rituals at the wedding night of the king. You can also hear about the ghost of Örebro, hahaha, as any real castle, this castle has its own ghost story as well.

I went with the guided tour at the end of August and that meant that there was only a Swedish guided tour. But you do get a brochure with some English information on it. My Swedish isn't so good so I had a hard time understanding what the guide had to say. But she was very sweet and quickly translated the story in English, hahaha, what she actually wasn't supposed to do. But I am very grateful that she did :-)

Guided Tours 2003
June 16-August 17:
11.00, 13.00, 15.00: Swedish
12.00, 14.00, 16.00 English, German

August 19-September 1:
13.00 (Swedish, English information available)

Rest of the year: Saturdays-Sundays 13.00 (Swedish)

Entrance fee: Adults 45:-
Children under 16 years free entrance

Exhibition: the history of Örebro Castle

Örebro Castle
Örebro Castle

If you don't want to take the guided tour, but do want to learn a little about the castles history, you should visit the exhibition. It is a bit hidden away, so you might not notice it, if you don't know where to go. So here is a little tip of how to find it : when you are in front of the main entrance of the castle, walk around it to the right side. A small path besides around the castle tower, alongside the moat brings you to the entrance of the exhibition.

Opening times of the exhibition :
June 2-August 18:
Mon-Fri 9.00-19.00, Sat-Sun 10.00-17.00.

Rest of the year: Mon-Fri 10.00-18.00, Sa 10.00-14.00
Sun 11.00-14.00.

King and Queen door

King and Queen door at Örebro Castle
The gate

The guided tour starts in the courtyard of the castle, and you can hear all about the building history of the castle. You can clearly see at points all the alterations that have been made to the castle over the centuries. A few fun details were pointed out, like the two sets of doors that are in opposite corners in the inner courtyard. The first set of doors is for the king and queen. In those days it was very important that the King should have its own entrance. So the solution was to give the king and the queen there own entrance door as you can see on the picture. Of course the door for the king should be much bigger than the one for the queen, so that makes it the door on the right side in the picture the 'king's door'.

The doors actually lead to different parts of the castle. The king and queen didn't like each other very much, so they lived in separate quarters of the castle.

Seperate entrance for the prince

The guided tour starts in the courtyard of the castle, and you can hear all about the building history of the castle. You can clearly see at points all the alterations that have been made to the castle over the centuries. A few fun details were pointed out, like the two sets of doors that are in opposite corners in the inner courtyard. The first set of doors is for the king and queen. In those days it was very important that the King should have its own entrance. So the solution was to give the king and the queen there own entrance door as you can see on the picture. Of course the door for the king should be much bigger than the one for the queen, so that makes it the door on the right side in the picture the 'king's door'.

The doors actually lead to different parts of the castle. The king and queen didn't like each other very much, so they lived in separate quarters of the castle.

Entrance for the prince
Entrance for the prince

The jail

Örebro Castle
The jail

The guided tour continues to the jail of Örebro Castle. This is also the spot where the exhibition about the history of Örebro is. It's not allowed to take pictures inside the castle, except for here at the jail, so this is the only picture of the interior that I have of Örebro castle. Not that I really minded in this case, as the interior wasn't so nice to see.

The guided tour was more about the stories of the castle and the people living here, than showing the interior. Living in this jail for example wasn't the most fun part of it. You would be chained around your ankles, hands and also you neck and locked up in the little cell. The drinking water you would get would come straight out of the moat, and that wasn't the best water to drink. Like in a lot of castles, the moat was used like a sewer for the toilets.... arghhh... can't even imagine drinking water like that!

The huge parties that were held when other royals visited, sounded a better place to be.... although.... were they? Hahaha, hearing all the details, maybe it wasn't so very pleasant at all. The dinners would be huge, and in total the meal would have 37 dishes. And you had to eat from each and every dish! Of course that is almost impossible to do, so they had a solution to that. After a few courses of the meal, they would throw up, so they would make more room in the stomach for the next dish. They actually had a little feather next to their plate to put in the back in the throat to make the vomiting more easily. arghh.... not sure if I like that idea, bweh!

There were several stories like this about life in the castle and were fun to hear. Like the wedding night tradition of the king. But to hear about that one you have to go to the castle yourself and take the guided tour, lol :-)

In the middle of the city

Örebro Castle
Örebro Castle

It was a beautiful day when I was in Örebro, and it was nice to walk around the castle in the sunshine. The location of the castle is a bit unusual though; it is in the middle of the city centre of Örebro. In the background on the right side of the picture (click on it to enlarge it) you can see the buildings of the city centre. If you follow the road signs to the city centre you can't miss finding the castle.

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