Bohus Fortress        

Kungalv, Sweden              
The town of Kungalv, which translates as King River by dint of its location at the spot where the Gota River joins with the Nordre River, was founded, maybe, in 1612. The first Bohus Fortress, however, was built in 1308 by Norwegian King Haakon V Magnuson (1270-1319) as a stronghold against the ever-rampaging Swedes. Magnuson also oversaw the construction of Akershus and Vardohus Fortresses. Both of these are still in Norway, while you'll perhaps note that Bohus Fortress, for all its apparent strength, currently exists in Sweden.

The first Bohus Fortress was a medieval castle, built of granite and brick. It was little more than a three-meter-thick surrounding wall, with four rectangular corner towers. Though a relatively blunt instrument as far as fortifications went, the Fortress sat atop a 40-meter-high cliff, easily dominating the rivers and surrounding area. A large garrison was never needed at Bohus, so well situated were its walls.

Bohus Fortress was attacked and/or besieged 14 times over the years by those nasty Swedes, but was never taken. During the Northern Seven Years' War (1563-1570), in which Sweden fought to break Denmark and her allies' dominating position in the region, Bohus Fortress came close to being overrun when 250 Swedish troops got into the fort's northeastern-most tower. The Norwegian commander sent a volunteer to blow up that tower's ammunition stores, annihilating the Swedes therein and saving the Fortress. That war would end in a stalemate, with neither side gaining any ground.

After the war, Bohus Fortress was upgraded to a bastion fortress, or what we lovingly know as a starfort, from 1593 to 1604. Constant threat of Swedish advances kept Norwegian kings improving Bohus for the next several decades, until the conclusion of the Second Northern War (1655-1670), which pitted Sweden against what looks like just about everybody within about a thousand miles. Somehow Sweden managed not to be wiped off the map; in fact, the Treaty of Roskilde that (sort of) ended the war granted Sweden most of Norway's land, including the province of Bohuslan, which included Bohus Fortress.

No longer useful as a border outpost, Bohus Fortress was used as a prison until the end of the 18th century, when the decision was made to demolish the fortress. Demolition crews worked for two months, chipping away, until money for the project ran out and the remainder of the fort was left to rot. Starting in the early 20th century, some restoration efforts have proved successful, and today Bohus Fortress is available for tours in the summer, and is the focal point for much funny-clothes-wearing and sword-swinging.

Fars Hatt, the northernmost tower, still stands in the fort, and is the round blue thing visible in the picture above.

Do you have a correction, addition or complaint about
Bohus Fortress?
Please head to my Contact Page or Guestbook and let me know. My methods for gleaning information regarding these forts is pretty haphazard, so I truly appreciate any input I can get from people who actually know stuff!

Info Source 1 Info Source 2 Info Source 3 Info Source 4
Info Source 5 Info Source 6 Info Source 7
Thanks to Google Maps for the image!