Gråborg & St. Knut's Chapel - Tveta
Gråborg & St. Knut's Chapel - Tveta
Gråborg & St. Knut's Chapel - Tveta
Gråborg & St. Knut's Chapel - Tveta

Gråborg & St. Knut's Chapel - Tveta

Öland's largest ancient castle, built during the Iron Age but in use right into historical times. Next to the castle there is a medieval chapel ruin and the village of Borg with a well-established agricultural landscape..

Gråborg is Öland's largest ancient castle and also one of Sweden's largest facilities of its kind. Like Ismanstorp, it is centrally located on the island. The castle was previously called Backaborg, but this name has gradually been transferred to the nearby village of Borg.
The castle wall encloses an area of ​​210 x 160 meters and the height of the ring wall varies from 4 to 7 meters. The original height of the wall was about 8-10 meters with a thickness of about 10 meters. In the north-west there is a gate with a medieval vault reinforced with lime mortar. The castle previously had two additional gates, one in the north and one in the south. According to older sources, the existing gate was previously crowned by a smaller tower, the southern gate also had a tower.

Historical time
The farmers in the village have for a long time farmed inside the castle. The appearance of the castle wall differs to some extent from other ancient castles, due to its probably original vertical inner side, which was built on during the Middle Ages and given the characteristic tapering wall crest. Outside the north-eastern and eastern parts of the wall is a slight depression which is probably the remains of a moat. Originally, the embankment was somewhat lower here, and a moat therefore has a logical explanation. Gråborg is often compared to Eketorp's castle, which was also used for a long time. It was built during the Iron Age but played a role well into historical times. It is known that the castle was still used during the war against the Danes in 1677. There are no archaeological investigations that more accurately confirmed the castle's age and development. In the 1920s, among other things, the gates were investigated, and recently a limited investigation has been carried out, which, however, did not include the deeper cultural layers.

Archaeological findings
The castle's importance in the Middle Ages has undoubtedly been considerable and is partially confirmed by the rather extensive find material, where the medieval material predominates. The castle's function has probably changed from a defensive castle in the direction of a trading post and perhaps a kind of administrative center. When the castle belonged to Vadstena monastery in 1450, it was valued in salt, which indicates trading activities.

Chapel ruin
St. Knut's chapel, 200 meters north of the castle, indicates that the castle had great importance during the Middle Ages. The chapel, originally about 18 x 7 meters, was built in the 1100th century without a tower and was equipped with an apse. The chancel tapers slightly to the east and was fitted with windows with round bars and bevelled plinths. The chapel was widened during the Gothic period and provided with a pointed arch. The chapel was already abandoned in the 1500th century, and its only bell was confiscated to the crown in 1560. Today, only the western gable and the triumphal arch remain. A swastika can now be found in Algutsrum's church, as well as an altar cabinet which is one of Öland's largest. The chapel building was probably surrounded by a smaller cemetery, both skeletons and tombstones have been found nearby. The chapel has been dedicated to the Danish saint-king Knut, who was killed in an uprising in Odense in 1086 and who later became the patron saint of the Danish trading organization Knutsgillet.

Borg's village today consists of two farms owned by the Vitterhetsakademin. Here, they try to preserve the older farming landscape through traditional farming methods in meadows and paddocks.
The building is well-preserved with partially assembled barns in sheds under thatched roofs. In 1540 Borg consisted of a farm that belonged to Vadstena monastery.