Bohus Fortress

Bohus Fortress


Location: Kungälv, Bohuslän Map

Constructed: 1308


Description of Bohus Fortress

Bohus Fortress is a historic medieval stronghold situated in Kungälv, Bohuslän of Sweden.  Bohus Fortress was constructed in 1308 upon orders of king Haakon V Magnuson, king of Norway (1299- 1319). The cite for this citadel was chosen wisely. Bohus Castle sits on top of a strategic 40 metres high hill where the Gota river splits into two branches forming natural water filled moats, thus the fortress gets its natural protection on two sides.


Original Bohus Fortress was fairly small in size. It was meant to guard Norwegian lands against Swedish invasion, but over time it grew in size and complexity. In 1450 it got wall that measured 3 metres at its base. Its height was measured at 8.5- 13.5 metres with four rectangular towers defending its most vulnerable spots. Eventually Bohus Fortress became one of the best defended castle in Norway. In 1593- 1604 another series of reconstruction increased defences of the citadel.


Bohus Fortress was never captured, but Norway lost its prized possession after signing the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. Eventually Bohus lost its value as a military fortification and its was turned into a prison, mostly for political criminals. Among them was a member of a radical Swedish pietist movement Thomas Leopold who spend 32 years out of 42 that he served behind walls of Bahus Fortress, where he died at 77 years old. His cell (its window is pictured on the left) is available to the public as it is one of the few parts of the castle that wasn't torn down.


In the late 18th century Bohus Fortress was completely abandoned and fell in disrepair. Local government decided to take the castle apart brick by brick. The workers worked hard for two months until fortunately for us their resources ran out. This saved whatever was left from the original building. Today it is turned into a historical museum and it is open to the public.