During the surveys Kronoberg after the storm Gudrun I visited most of the 39 registered remains of castles and strongholds. Some of these are a treat, the most famous ones are probably the castle ruin of Kronoberg, Bergkvara and Toftaholm.
Kronoberg is situated a few miles north of Växjö. During the Middle Ages Kronoberg has been the mansion for the bishop of Växjö. The earliest written notion of this is a letter dated 1351 written by the bishop Tomas Johansson. Since then the castle is mentioned upon a number of occasions during the middle ages. Around 1540 the castle is expanded with an encircling wall as the king made the castle his. Some archaeological excavations were made during 1935-43 by Paul Boberg. The oldest part of the castle is the lower part of the round tower and a cellar. The archaeological excavations also found remnants of foundations to older houses made of wood and some kilns. It is easy accessible and has a parking lot for tourists. In the summertime there is an open café and for a fee one may enter the ruin.
Bergkvara is situated just beside the Bergkvara mansion of today at the north beach of the lake Bergkvarasjön some miles south southwest of Växjö. The original Bergkvara mansion was built for Magnus Håkansson (the Bergkvara family) in 1356 by inheritance it was transferred to the Trolle family ca 1420. The original structures were destroyed in battles in 1467 and 1469. In the end of the 15th century the castle in stone is build by Arvid Trolle. In 1502 the royal crown expropriated the estate. Today an impressive ruin is left for beholders, 20 meters high and walls that are up to two meters wide. Description from the 1763 tells of a building with seven floors that reached 24 meters high, it is easy to imagine when looking at the ruin. It is easy accessible and has a parking lot for tourists.
Toftaholm is situated just beside the Toftaholm mansion of today, besides the ruins of the medieval stronghold there are a lot of other ancient monuments to be seen as graves from the Bronze Age, a ancient gravefield, a rune stone etc. Toftaholm is first mentioned in a letter from 1476 and was the residence for Gustav Olsson Stenbock. The ruins of the medieval Toftaholm are situated on an elongated islet. The ruin shows that the main building consisted of two rooms with walls up to two meters wide. In the east part of the ruin the walls is about five meters high, in this wall there is also an archway to the cellar to be seen. The medieval stronghold was probably abandoned in the beginning of the 17th century; a report from 1667 describes Toftaholm as an old stone house without a roof. It is easy accessible and has a parking lot for tourists.
More information about castles and strongholds in Sweden and Småland can be found in these books:
Lovén, Christian 1999. Borgar och befästningar i det medeltida Sverige (Castles and fortifications in medieval Sweden). Written in Swedish with a summary in English.
Hansson. Martin 1999. The minor “castles” of the gentry in Småland, Sweden. Castella Maris Baltici. 5.
Hansson, Martin 2001. Huvudgårdar och herravälden : en studie av småländsk medeltid (Manors and lordship : a study of Småland in the Middle Ages). Written in Swedish with a summary in English.
Pictures will be added in a few days, click on the links for photos published on the County administrative board of Kronobergs web site (taken by me in 2006)!!!