Ragnhildsholmen - History and Facts | History Hit


Rodbo, Vastra Gotalands lan, Sweden

Ragnhildsholmen is an early medieval castle ruin, representing all that remains of a 13th century border fortress.

Image Credit: CC / Västgöten

About Ragnhildsholmen

Ragnhildsholmen is an early medieval castle ruin, representing all that remains of a 13th century border fortress. It is located on an islet on the southern bank of Nordre älv in Säve parish on Hisingen, in Gothenburg municipality in Bohuslän, Sweden.

History of Ragnhildsholmen

The Ragnhildsholmen castle was built around 1250 AD by Norwegian king Håkon Håkonsson (aka Haakon IV of Norway) at a strategically important point on the south eastern border of what was, at the time, Norway. It stood to protect the border as well as the city of Kungahälla.

It consisted of a main wall that enclosed a square courtyard, which supported houses and buildings. On the east side was a square tower, and on the south was an ‘outside’ to protect the gate. The whole fortification was surrounded by a dike with a grave.

In 1304, King of Sweden Magnus III received the castle in fief of the Norwegian King Haakon V. Their relationship deteriorated, and in 1308, the Norwegian King tried to forcibly regain the castle.

In retaliation, Haakon V purposefully built the nearby Bagahus castle (Bohus castle), just a few kilometres away, causing it to lose much of its military importance.

King Haakon declared it to be his in 1309, but was taken back only the next year by the Swedes, before it was returned in accordance with the peace in Oslo by 1315 at the latest.

It was later largely destroyed by a devastating fire and left as a ruin until its excavation in the 19th century.

In the years 1881-1882, an investigation of the ruins was conducted were carried out, which unearthed a number of coins, weapons, household items, tools, and utensils. The best preserved parts of the ruin were also unearthed.

Ragnhildsholmen Today

Today, Ragnhildsholmen is a rural and little-known visitor destination. It is particularly popular amongst bird watchers, with nightingales, warblers, and harriers roosting at among the ruins. In the spring, children can catch tadpoles along the stream that goes on the path from the road to the castle.

Spring and summer are the best time to visit.

Getting to Ragnhildsholmen

From the centre of Nordre älv, the castle is reachable in around 10 minutes by car via the Kornhallsvägen and Kongahällavägen roads. By foot, it is accessible in around an hour and fifteen minutes. There is also a regular bus schedule which takes around 15 minutes from Kornhalls Färja.