Castle ruins near Gränna at Lake Vättern
Brahehus is the ruin of a once magnificent pleasure palace from the middle of the 17th century. It is situated on a cliff on the eastern side of the lake Vättern near Gränna, about 40 kilometres north of Jönköping.
The ruins of Brahehus are located about 90 metres above the Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden. The view through the empty holes of the big arched windows offers a fantastic view over the lake, the island Visingsö and in western direction over the town Gränna.
The castle burnt down in 1708 and the ruins consists of the outer walls of the former two-storey, almost square main house as well as the remains of walls and two square corner towers east of the main house. The formerly high walls connected the towers both to the main house and to each other so that they formed a closed inner courtyard, which had about the same size as the main building.
Brahehus as a prestige object
The exposed location was deliberately chosen by the owner of the castle, Count Per Brahe the Younger, to demonstrate his power to his direct subjects in Gränna with this prestigious project. Not only did the count himself design the town plan of Gränna, but on that occasion some of the most important streets at that time were aligned in the direction of Brahehus, so that the view was always in the direction of the castle.
The construction of the castle, which was built exclusively of natural stone, had already begun in 1638 and lasted until 1651, mainly due to the special location of the castle on the cliff, which at that time represented a considerable transport problem.
Normally Per Brahe resided on his castle Visingsborg, directly opposite on the island Visingsö. The castle Brahehus was supposed to be the widow's residence for his wife Kristina Katarina Stenbock, but she did not live to see its completion, as she died at the age of 42 in 1650, one year before the castle was completed.
Brahehus was occasionally used as a luxurious guesthouse for the count's visitors. There was even a twelve-man army at the castle, who had to guard a mostly uninhabited property on an area that was difficult to access.
Decay to the ruin of Brahehus
The count died in 1680 and a short time later, as part of the reduction under King Charles XI, the county was confiscated from the crown and the entire interior of the castle was removed. Brahehus began to fall into disrepair and became the victim of a fire on September 29, 1708, triggered by the sparks of a large fire that raged in the village of Uppgränna below the cliff.
In order to get to the ruin, you no longer need to take the steep path up the cliff. The motorway E4 runs along the front door of the castle and there are enough parking spaces at the service area directly on the opposite side. From there, an underpass under the motorway leads to the ruins.