Hovgården, Sweden: UNESCO World Heritage Site

In yesterday’s post I introduced you to Drottningholm Slott, the palace in my backyard. Ekerö kommun is quite unique as we also have a second UNESCO World Heritage site, which is in fact divided in two. One site is Birka, located on Björkö, and the other site is Hovgården located on Adelsö. The second island (BTW.. all location names ending in ö mean it is an island) is almost exactly the same distance as my home to Drottningholm. Ha! So I have two palaces! One in my back yard and one in my front yard.

I am much more impressed by the ancient idea of a settlement than the actual royal palace I showed you yesterday. Hovgården apparently was the location for a royal estate Kungsgård as early as the Viking Age (c. 800-1050 CE).

Lake Mälaren from Hovgården, with Björkö in the background to the left

Hovgården, together with Birka became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Björkö from Hovgården. Birka is located on Björkö.

Björkö from Hovgården. Birka is located on Björkö.

Adelsö Church at Hovgården

Aldelsö kyrka (church) in the background is from the 12th century (with some additions). The stone in the foreground is thought to the remains of the king's house.

Aldelsö kyrka (church) in the background is from the 12th century (with some additions). The stone in the foreground is thought to the remains of the king’s house.

The Rune Stone and the Ruin

Birka, the oldest town in Sweden, was an international trade post. It has been assumed the royal settlement at Hovgården was established as the king’s mean of controlling Birka. However, while Birka was abandoned in the mid-10th century, the royal estate was apparently not as the runestone U 11 from around 1070 which claims to have been carved for the king was erected next to the royal mounds. It was part of Uppsala öd, a network of royal estates supporting the Kings of Sweden (source: Wikipedia).

The Hacon Stone runestone from around 1070

… King Magnus Barnlock had the old castle replaced by a palace built in brick, Alsnö hus, in the 1270s. In the palace, the king established the Swedish nobility through the Ordinance of Alsnö (Alsnö stadga) in 1279. However, the palace was destroyed before the end of that century, and as it was left to decay Hovgården lost in importance.

Hovgården

Burial Mounds

The oldest archaeological remains on Adelsö, found north of Hovgården, are grave fields and burial mounds from the Bronze Age (c. 1800-500 BCE). Apparently this culture survived into the Iron Age (500-800 CE) as graves from the early part of this period have been found at several locations in the area. At Hovgården some 124 graves have been found; the oldest from late Roman Iron Age(1-400 CE) and the youngest from the beginning of the Middle Ages (c. 1050-1520), indicating the area has been settled uninterruptedly throughout this period (source: Wikipedia).

One of the burial mounds of Hovgården.A few other Vikings were exploring today.

One of the burial mounds of Hovgården.A few other Vikings were exploring today.

How to Retrain Your Brain

I continue to Retrain my brain and embrace the light that has returned. Even if it has been a tough few days for other reasons.

Lake Mälaren

Sun, light, and a great view all make me feel much better.

Sun, light, and a great view all make me feel much better.

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