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Kronborg Castle, Helsinger, Denmark

Kronborg castle ("Kronborg" translates as "fist") is located on the shore of Eresund strait in Helsinger(or Elsinore). It was originally built for collecting duties from commercial ships, for the protection of the strait and played an eminent role in the history of Northern Europe. The first fortress, known as Krogen, was built by the Danish King Eric of Pomerania on the shore of the Zund in 1420. The reinforcements around the fortress, built by the Hanseatic League, appeared earlier. The castle was renamed Kronborg during the reign of King Frederick II in 1585, who began the construction of a new, more powerful and more modern castle. In 1574-1577 Dutch architect Hans van Paeschen assumed the construction of Kronborg. After his death, the reconstruction of the castle continued another Dutch architect, Anthonis van Opbergen. In 1585 the construction of the castle was completed. It was built in the Renaissance style, with rich adornments and sculptures. It was considered to be the largest and most powerful castle of its time in the whole of Europe. In 1629 Kronborg was devastated by a fire and only the chapel survived. After a while the castle was restored by the "Builder King" Christian IV, who added some Baroque elements. In 1658 the invading Swedish troops pillaged the castle and destroyed its central tower. Since then, kings no longer stayed here. Instead, the castle was used as barracks. In 1923 Kronborg was restored and renovated to its state during the reign of Frederick II and Christian IV. The castle is home to a stone statue of the mythological hero Holger Danske, who, legend has it, will awaken when Denmark faces an external threat. The castle also was made famous by Shakespeare's Hamlet, which is set in Kronborg. Now the castle houses the Navigation Museum of Denmark. Its walls are adorned by the remaining seven tapestries (out of the original 117), depicting the kings of Denmark. Kronborg is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By Ruzanna Mkrtchyan,




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