Skansen Kronan: The Glistening Crown On A Hill In Gothenburg

One of the 400 Experiences: To Do, To Know, To See in Gothenburg aka Göteborg (1621–2021) in Sweden

Kovuuri G. Reddy
4 min readOct 19, 2020

Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, is an undulating city with a scatter of hills. One of the hills in the centre of the city is adorned with a glistening crown. The hill served as a defensive structure fort for the city during the medieval times, when Sweden was subjected to Danish invasion. Today the redoubt tower on the hill and its surrounding area serves as a recreational spot and as a historical marker.

Skansen Kronan in Gothenburg

SKANSBERGET:

Some slopes on the hill named Skansberget, tipped with the golden crown on the fortification, serve as a park, and one gets a commanding view of a part of the city including the River Göta. The crown is a striking landmark in the 400-year-old city, which was founded in AD 1621. It is known as Skansen Kronan.

Skansen Kronan is a striking landmark on top of a hill called Skansberget, and it is in the heart of Gothenburg and at a walking distance from Avenyn and Järntorget.

SKANSEN KRONAN:

Skansberget has a medieval fortification, redoubt, with cannons still intact. In military science, redoubt, is a stronghold structure. In military science, redoubt is a temporary outlying fortification or the flanks of entrenchment used to secure hilltops, passes, fortifications, and such. Redoubt in permanent fortifications is a breastwork surrounded by a parapet and dominated by guns from the heavier fortifications behind it.

The redoubt tower enabled fortified cities during medieval times to defend from invaders, in Gothenburg it was from the Danes.

Skansen Kronan survives from the time when Gothenburg was one of the highly fortified cities in Europe. There are still battlements in the walls for cannons. It derives its name from the royal crown on the roof.

Another redoubt tower in the city is at Olskroken known as Skansen Lejonet.

Skansen Kronan, the Crown Redoubt, is the quadricentennial city’s 17th century fortification. In the 17th century, Gothenburg was subject to threat from surrounding countries and fortifications dotted the city.

Skansen Kronan was one of the impenetrable fortifications. It was famous for its structure and location.

Gothenburg in medieval times earned the reputation as ‘the best defended city in the Nordic region’.

A view of Gothenburg from Skansen Kronan. Photo

Erik Dahlbergh was in-charge of building this fortification, and the work started in 1687. On this spot earlier stood a fortification known as the Rijsåsen ridge and it served as the foundation for Skansen Kronan.

THE GOLDEN CROWN:

Skansen Kronan is a four-storeyed fort and topped with a crown of gilded wood but painted in golden colour. Around the stone fortress, ramparts and walls were built. From the tower and the fortress, the soldiers’ got the best view of the city to defend and fire with cannons from different levels in different directions. The cannons got the perfect point to fire cannon balls at those enemies streaking into the city either by river or by the sea. From this vantage position, attackers could be spotted early and fired easily.

Below Rijsåsen, Dahlberg had built a caponier built along with ramparts and moats, which offered protected access to fortified Gothenburg.

Caponier is a type of fortification, and it is derived from French word ‘caponnire’.

The 18th century Gothenburg had two striking fortifications: Skansen Kronan and Skansen Lejonet (Westgötha Leijon on Gulbergsklippan). Interestingly, neither Skansen Kronan nor Skansen Lejonet was used to defend the city by firing cannons but they prevented the would-be attackers.

Armed with two fortifications, Gothenburg entered into 19th century as the centre of trade, and by 1807 many minor fortifications around the city were demolished to create space. But Skansen Lejonet and Skansen Kronan were spared; they stand today as a testimony to the past and they were not in the way for infrastructure-related projects.

SERVED AS THE PRISON:

Skansen Kronan lost its functionality by the early 19th century for there were no wars. It stood neglected, and deteriorated but it was used for another purposes: as a prison and as a shelter for emergency housing.

By the end of 19th century, Gothenburg had encircled the hill, now known as Skansberget, with house after house and the houses touched Skansen Kronan’s ramparts and bastions and cannons. By 20th century, Skansen Kronan has become a park.

Småfåglarnas vänner, a society, started to convert the area in to a green zone by filling the rocky spots with soil and planted trees, and its visitors were welcomed in 1904. In 1905, Oscar II opened a military museum in the renovated fortress, and it became a listed building in 1935. Today it is managed by National Property Board of Sweden: Statens fastighetsverk.

Raghu Gadha, a British citizen who has visited othenburg, says, “It is a scenic place in the city because it offers a commanding view of the city, and one gets a feel of the city.”

Skansen Kronan offers a commanding view of the city.

In 21st century, Skansen Kronan serves as the spot for panoramic views over the city, as a go-to-walk area over an uphill and for events.

Skansen Kronan is one of the 400 experiences to do, to know, to see in Gothenburg aka Göteborg (1621–2021) in Sweden.

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Kovuuri G. Reddy

Independent journalist; short, short story writer; living in Sweden. Worked as a broadcast journalist and teaching journalsim and media in England and India.