In mid 1800 Carlsten was considered the strongest fortress in Europe. Placed on the island Marstrand rock 39 meters over sea level and, with its tower reaching 98 meters it’s an impressive building. Construction began in 1658 after the peace treaty between Sweden and Denmark-Norway where Denmark-Norway had to surrender Bohuslän to Sweden. Marstrand was strategically important harbor with its strong currents keeping it ice free during the winter.
Like many fortresses in Sweden it has also served as a prison. In fact the entire fortress is built by the prisoners. The granite used for construction was landed by boats at the harbor in the village below and dragged up the hill by the prisoners. A sentence to hard labor at Carlsten was the same as a death sentence. Only way to leave was in a coffin. For my Swedish readers I strongly recommend the show and album by Stefan Andersson, No 90 Kleist, where he tells the history from the prisoners and soldiers perspective.
Not everything was war and punishment. It has also served as a lighthouse between 1780 until 1868 when the lighthouse Pater Noster replaced it. Carlsten lighthouse was equipped with the first rotating mirror invented by Jonas Norberg.
Let the old fortresses be a reminder that war is never the answer, ha de Gött!