Vadstena Castle (Vadstena slott) in the county of Östergötland is a former Royal Castle, originally built by King Gustav I (Gustav Vasa) in 1545 as a fortress to protect Stockholm from enemies approaching from the south.
The reconstruction from fortress into a habitable castle began in the 1550s, when King Gustav’s son prince Magnus became Duke of Östergötland. Magnus died in 1595 and is buried in the church of Vadstena Abbey.
In 1552, King Gustav I married his third wife in Vadstena - Katarina Stenbock from Torpa in Västergötland. (I blogged about a visit to Torpa Castle back in 2012.) The marriage took place in the chapel of the Vadstena Abbey and was followed the next day by the coronation of Katarina as Queen.
By 1620, when Vadstena castle was completed, all the kings of the House of Vasa had contributed to its construction. Since then, the castle has been very well preserved, and is one of Sweden's best examples of Renaissance architecture. The original ramparts of the fortress were torn down in the 19th century, though, and the present ramparts were finished as late as in 1999.
Since 1899, the castle has housed the Provincial Archives, and nowadays also a Castle Museum. The castle is also the seat of the International Vadstena Academy, Sweden's smallest opera house. In summer, there are concerts given in the courtyard of both classical and pop music.
We did not go on a guided tour, and did not go inside the castle – only around it, and into the courtyard.
Harbour warehouses in old style opposite the castle.
The little people give you an idea of how big the castle is!
Even though we didn’t join the tour, I managed to sneak a shot of this guide in period costume.
The castle (Vadstena slott) is the orange square island in the bottom left corner of the map.
Next: From there, we followed the walkway along the lake, up to the Abbey (kloster) area in the upper right corner.