A guided tour in Kalmar Castle
‘Are you here for the English tour?’ A young man asked us as he shook our hands and then led us to the first royal room of the Castle. It was a place I had wanted to learn about for the last two years. During my previous visits to Kalmar I found the castle to be closed or we didn’t find a guided tour that matched our agendas. Today we were very lucky to have Filip guiding us in English during a private tour.
We walk into a room where you can see an old map of Scandinavia. About 800 years ago Denmark and Sweden used to have a different border. In the room next door you can see how the Kalmar castle has grown from one stone tower with a bit of wall to an entire fortress over the years. An impressive realization.
The Kalmar castle has been renovated. Some rooms more than others. Walking into the kitchen gives a feeling of how things looked like and you can sense a presence of the past. Even the stones you walk on, like those in the staircases. They also have a history. Looking closer at these giant stones you can spot some carvings. Our guide explains that they used to be grave stones and that they were reused for the floor to stand on the Catholic religion – as they went from Catholics to Christians. The walls are white and grey, just as they used to be. However. On the ceilings and on the higher part of the walls you can see artwork. Original artwork. They actually are fresco artwork, like the ones we know from Italy.
The sober one
The dinning room is filled with this impressive piece of fresco on the entire wall. One can only imagine the parties they must have had in that dinning room. The guide explains about the dinners with the king. You, as a guest, were not allowed to get up from the table if the king hadn’t finished eating yet. The king could eat for six continuous hours, while getting drunk of all the imported wine. They did call the king, the sober one. Our guide also explains that the king was drinking 6 liters of wine every day, which seems like a drunk making amount of wine to me. I guess we can call the old king an alcoholic nowadays, but for his time he was the sober one. According to history he made the wisest decisions of all the kings. Even while being drunk. Therefor, the sober one.
The kings’ bedroom
Next is the kings’ bedroom. The walls and the ceiling are completely covered with artwork again. This time it is wooded art. Shields of the kings’ favorite things are placed on the ceiling and the top of the walls including hunting for bore, music and healthy making fruits. The colors of the artwork on the wall are so bright that our guide explains they original arts men used poison to make sure it would stay that colorful. It sure did.
Inside the wall there is a hidden door. Thom spots it and our guide then decides to open it for us. Inside is the kings’ toilet, but also a hidden hatch leading to a staircase that can take you to the 3rd floor. Sadly enough so many tourists who went inside this hidden toilet room carved their names into the wood and therefore the Kalmar castle had to decide to close it for public.
The hanging ceiling
A hallway further we get to enter a giant room. It has a throne and many paintings on the wall. The most remarkable thing here is the ceiling from the year 1576. It’s a gigantic piece of art hanging from wall to wall as a ceiling. I can not imagine a more horrible death if it would ever fall down, but the guide insures us that we’d end up in the Guinness Book of record – being killed by a ceiling of art. The artwork has very different details. I discover crazy, sad and happy faces.
We get to have a peek into the church. Normally you’re not able to see the inside of the church in Kalmar Castle because it’s so popular for weddings and therefore always occupied.
You’d normally start a tour at the most saddening part of the museum and end it at the happy room. Today we stop our tour at the dungeons. A place where no one could escape from. So let’s focus on the happier places of the castle, like the castle square.
To sum it up
In conclusion, the Kalmar Castle (or the Kalmar Slott in Swedish) shows a lot of history. It has many rooms and artwork still intact or properly restored. It has an ambience that makes you feel like going back in time. Even the guide is dressed as a royal servant from 800 years ago. One hour of explanation about the royal rooms is totally worth your time.
Wish to visit the Kalmar Castle? Click on this link of Kalmar Castle to find out more about the opening hours, guided tours and more.
Have you been to the Kalmar Castle? Share your experience in the comment section below!
Want to read more about my visits to Sweden? Check it out by clicking right here.