Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Real Elsinore Castle

      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is perhaps the greatest play in the English language. Set in Denmark, the play tells the story of revenge as Hamlet fights to avenge his father's murder. The setting for all of the action is Elsinore Castle.

But did you know Elsinore Castle really exists?

Kronborg Castle
Called Kronborg Castle in the town of Helsingor or Elsinore, Denmark the castle is one of the most important Renaissance castles of Northern Europe and is one of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Built in the 1420's by the Danish king, Eric of Pomerania, it was created as a fortress to collect dues on all boats that were passing through the sound that the fortress is located on.

From 1574 to 1585 King Frederick II had the fortress rebuilt into one of the most unique castles in all of Europe for it's surprising size and shape. King Frederick was a patron of the theater and players performed often when he held his court there in 1579.

In 1629 two momentarily reckless workmen accidentally caused the castle to go up in flames. All but the chapel was lost. King Christian IV put a great deal of effort into restoring the castle. The exterior was rebuilt without much change in design and was once again magnificent, yet the interior never regained it's former glory. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1658-1660 many of the castles most precious works of art were stolen during a Swedish occupation. 

Statue of Ogir has been placed
in the castle
This castle however interesting it's actual history may be will forever be remembered for it's fictional inhabitants and the tragic dual that took place there. Hamlet is performed at the castle often.

The castle is also home to an Arthurian legend. Ogir the Dane was taken by Morgan La Fay to Avalon. Ogir returned to save France from danger and later returned to Kronborg, where he sleeps until needed to save his homeland


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