The city of Kristiansand was founded by King Christian IV and originally it was named Christansand and you can wonder how he came up with this name when he named the city. The city is located at the southern edge of Norway only a short sail away from northern Denmark. For this reason it has a strategic location which is part of the reason for the founding of the city.
We arrive to the city by the ferry and decide to take advantage of the sunshine and head for the center of the city. Down at the harbor at the center is one important fortification. This fortress was built by Christian IV as well who made the fortress as the center piece of the city. The fortress was built mainly to protect the city against possible Swedish attacks in case of yet another war between the two Nordic countries – during this period war was very frequent and you should always expect another conflict in the region.
The fortress actually never saw any actions against the Swedish navy which never really had the upper hand in the wars against Denmark. The only time the fortress saw action was in 1807 when one of the last major ships of the Danish navy has taken refuge in the harbor of Kristiansand. The British ship HMS Spencer came and demanded the city would turn over the ship or the city would get bombed. The fortress refused and opened fierce fire on the British ship which gave up and decide to head to a nearby fortress instead. This fortress was abandon so the British ship got an easy victory and blew up the abandon fortress.
The fortress lost its military significance over the years and finally in 1872 the fortress was finally shut down as a military stronghold. Today the fortress is still standing down at the old harbor of Kristiansand and it is free to enter the fortress – so we did.
There is a good view of the pleasure boats in the harbor around the fortress so it is a pleasant area to wonder on a sunny day. There are still some old guns at the fortress so you can get an idea of the armaments of the old fortress. Unfortunately the building isn’t open to the public – at least not during our visit so we only went around from the outside.
It is possible to get to the top of the main building at the center of the fortress. From the top of the building you can get a pretty good view of the area around the harbor of Kristiansand which is worth walk up the stair to enjoy.