Friday, July 4, 2014

Kristiansand: Christiansholm Fortress. Not Kristiansund

King Christian IV, King of Denmark and Norway 1588-1648, had envisioned a defense system including a fort at Kristiansand, from the inception of the formal city (after millenia of settlements) in 1641.  
  • Frederik III 1609-1670, however, ruled as King of Norway and Denmark, both areas, from 1648-1670. And the fortress was not completed until 1672.  With no enemies, was the fortress plan carried on, as in our own war budgeting, even with no current need.  Denmark, the obvious possible opponent, spawned the 17th century monarch. See /.  The cannons line up.

Christiansholm fortress, cannon, Keristiansand NO

Dnmark is out there, past the rocky points. Christiansholm Fortress. Let the banquets within begin.

Kristiansand is a lovely southern coastal city that is often downplayed on travel sites. Enjoy its 17th Century fortress, known as Christiansholm.  The military site was to protect the port, but against whom is not entirely clear.  Kings were shared among, hated by, opposed and beloved, by territories of Denmark, Sweden and Norway over centuries.  King du jour.  There was only one battle here:  during the Napoleonic wars in about 1809. See  The issue at the time was pirates, and Swedes on the loose. See

Christiansholm Fortress, Kristiansand, Norway. Who is on the cannon?

The fortress here is on the Skagerrak, the waterway connecting the North Sea eventually (past the Kattegat, between Denmark and Sweden.  Love the names).

1. Cannons tell history.  These aim across the water to islands. Denmark is over there, beyond the horizon a few hours, but Denmark was not an enemy. Military budgets take on a life of their own.

hristiansholm Fortress, view over Skagerrak, Kristiansholm NO

2.  Cannons also honor people.  Look closely.  A medallion is on top.
Odd tourists are interested.  Move even closer. Find a distinctive nose, ear curls. What ruler most approximates this fine, if snooty, honorarii?

 Christian IV, cannon medallion, Christiansholm Fortress, Kristiansand, Norway

The cannon face looks like Christian IV, from online images, he who inspired the defensive plan carried out later by Frederik III, but do your own images search and get back to us. We found a Christian IV with the ear wiggy curls in our search, so we vote for him so far.

The glory goes to Christian IV, in the usual wall plaques.

3.  What is the difference between fort and fortress?  Nobody knows when to use either. We are accustomed to the feminine for particularly strong things, like hurricanes and military bastions, except those known as forts. But why the confusion.  Is there no difference.  See  Fortress it is. Strength. 

4.  Fort and fortress shapes make a difference.

 a.  This interior fortress does have a roundy shape, but it is surrounded by a star wall.  Round means strong, increased visibility, each gun covers the other in defending.  The columnar, rectangular, square, are replete with blind spots, more easily toppled.

A pentagon is a highly efficient form of star fort, but I did not count the number of angles here.  See

 5. Picnic at the fort. 

 There is a mast from the marina showing by the bike at the right.

6.  Merits of the star-fort, especially when it encloses a round fort: The star fort developed as a response to gunpowder, and cannon. See, following the military fashion in other parts of Europe. 
  • Spend time with the merits. Architecture meets function. The protuberances of the star, and the round of the rotunda, enabled cross-firing lines against attackers.

  Christiansholm Fortress, rotunda within a star wall; Kristiansand NO

7.  Go inside. Gunner holes.

8.  Deep stairs to what?  That is a window, with translucent stone-rock.

FN 1 Kristiansand.

Kristiansand has a long history, but the town offered two main attractions for us:

1)  Christiansholm Fortress, built in 1672 by Frederik III as part of a defense plan of Christian IV.  Mark that point.

2) See next post.


Kristiansand is a beach, marina and commercial city on the Skagerrak strait. The Skagerrak, southern Norway's border, forms part of a long way of the waters shared by Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Sails billowing over the waters, Scandinavia (from Vikings and earlier, and onward) swapped, shared, and opposed their mutual and feisty and territorially restive kings for centuries.  No wonder there are forts. Here, Christiansholm fortress, completed 1672.

Modern Kristiansand. In 1562, the governor of Bergen established a formal city.  The current layout dates from 1641, rebuilt after fires, and by decree of Christian IV.  Christian IV at the time ruled both Denmark and Norway, and died in 1648. The Kristiansand area shows evidence of centuries, millennia, of earlier settlements, dating from the neolothic and stone ages, and including burial mounds, later medieval post churches, and much else that now is underneath, and no longer on top.

Evolution. As Kristiansand evolved, it became a garrison town and a bishopric. Then came the fires.
Its round and star-shaped fortress is Christiansholm -- Which Kristian, Christian, is honored in the name? 3. Kristiansand's fortress, incorporating both the round style and the star-shaped style of military fortifications du jour,  was built soon after, in 1672, by Frederik IIIon the f

This town sounds like Kristiansund on the more northwesterly coast, known for fishing and timber, and its bombed core in WWII. Kristiansand was not so bombed, as the German Occupation had an early foothold here. For Nazi WWII and other cannon, visit nearby Ny-Hellesund. Movik Fort there, built by the Germans during the WWII Occupation, has a museum, see At the time, we preferred outside.

From this angle, the new raised roof and its glass viewing panels make this look more like a carousel than a fortification.  Good use.

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