Ismanstorp Castle

Ismanstorp Castle

Ismantorps Borg is surrounded by wetlands in the Midland Forest and is both an archaeological enigma and a popular excursion destination. Next to the large, mighty ancient castle, a small red cabin looms that has served as a coffee, juice, Wiener bread cabin, etc. for the castle's visitors for several generations. It is very scenically located.

Ismanstorp's castle is one of Öland's largest ancient castles with a diameter of 127 meters. Inside the 3-4 meter high wall are 88 house plots grouped in radial blocks. The wall is equipped with 9 gates. The castle is unique in that the house foundations are clearly visible above ground. The archaeological investigations that have been carried out have not yielded any dating findings.

The castle was probably built during the early Iron Age (0 - 500 AD). Along the castle wall there are some quarries that may have been taken up during the construction of the castle. Practically all the space inside the ring wall has been taken up by buildings. Here are the traces of a multitude of larger and smaller houses along the network of streets and alleys that connect all parts of the castle area with the gates in the fortification wall. The layout is reminiscent of a medieval urban community and here there is also a square in the center of the castle's buildings.

The castle was first described by J. H: Rhezelius in 1634, since then it has been noticed by, among others, Linné, but also by several other travelers and antiquarians. A couple of house grounds in the southern part are investigated by Mårten Stenberger. Only a small hearth pit was found in one of the houses. Even older investigations have been fruitless. The building plan above the castle corresponds to Eketorp II. The land area around the castle is owned and cared for by the Vitterhetsakademien. During the years there is a rich orchid flora here. There is a coffee house near the castle.

Theories about Ismantorp's use differ. The fortifications speak for a protective function, but at the same time the large number of gates constitutes a defensive technical weakness. Ismantorp has been compared to the great Slavic cities that functioned both as protection and as sanctuaries. Other research considers the castle as part of the other stock of castles on Öland. According to this theory, Ismantorp would be part of a form of national defense with a unified organization.

Ismantorp's castle is located on the border between five parishes and lies in the central forest. You can get here by driving via the Långlöt-Vedby exit road or from road 136 at Rälla towards Högsrum and further east. Signs show the way to a parking lot a few hundred meters from the castle.