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Fredriksten fortress, Halden, Norway - Often attacked, but never conquered

Fredriksten fortress,Halden,Norway,Fredriksten festning

The fortress is the site of some of the most dramatic events in Norwegian history. It has been attacked six times by the Swedish, but never conquered. The only way the Swedish could enter the fortress were as tourists.

Photo. Fredriksten fortress, Fredriksten festning, Halden, in Norway - observed from outside. During the war in 1718, the legendary Swedish king Karl XII ended his days in front of the walls of Fredriksten fortress.

Fredriksten fortress, in the town of Halden, Norway, has through 350 years of history been Norway's most important border fortress. It`s also consider as one of the most magnificent in Europe, majestically located above the Halden. The fortress offers aslo a fantastic view of the fjord, and far into what once was enemy territory.

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This year it was 300 years since Swedish King Karl 12. was shot at Fredriksten Fortress. This was the start of the end of the great Nordic war and therefore this 300th anniversary will be celebrated in Halden. The municipality of Halden has designed its own logo for this city jubilee.

Two years later after a Swedish attack, Karl XII made another attempt. With 6000 men he besieged Fredriksten. He captured the Gyldenløve fort and dug trenches ever closer to the main fortress from the north. On the evening of 11 December he crept up to the edge of his trench to see how the digging was progressing. Suddenly he collapsed, hit by a bullet to the head. The following day the Swedish forces withdrew from Norway. Since then there has been much discussion as to whether Karl XII was shot by his own people or hit by an "honest Norwegian bullet" (source: VisitNorway).

The building of Fredriksten started in 1661 after Norway lost the Bohuslän district and Bohus Fortress to Sweden in 1658. Three subsequent attacks by the Swedes on Halden in 1658-1660 convinced Fredrik 3. the King of Denmark and Norway; a strong, modern fortress was needed.

Now Fredriksten fortress is one of the country's most spectacular cultural arenas. It is a popular area for hiking, and offers accomodation and dining. Also for hunting lost spirists. Guided ghost walks can be organised. It`s said to be more ghosts here than soldiers, so watch up!

Stein Morten Lund, August 2018

Additional information
The fortress Fredriksten has many monuments and views. Most of the buildings both inside the fortress' main area - and some on the surrounding areas - still includes parts from the 17th, 18th and 19th century. For more information about hikings at the fortress - please visit the tourist information in Halden, or the Fredriksten Infocenter (open from the middle of May to end of August).

Information from The Norwegian Defence Estates Agency, Forsvarsbygg:
this military organisation manages 15 national fortifications across Norway, which receive a total of 3,3 million visitors a year. Fredriksten Fortress is situated at the south-east tip of Norway, close to the border with Sweden, and it commands an elevated position above the town of Halden. It is a national border fort, and a regional cultural arena. Some of the most dramatic and bloody events in Norwegian war history have taken place here, the most well-known perhaps being the Swedish King Charles XII's death in 1718.

 


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