On the top of the Norwegian coast you reach the small town of Vardø. The town is small but very old and it has been one of the main towns for centuries. This is one of the reasons the Danish king decided to build a fortress up here to protect the northern reached of the Danish-Norwegian kingdom.
The current fortress was built between 1734 and 1738 following the modern principles of the day. It is shaped as an eight pointed star and protected the land for a couple of centuries from the original construction date. The fortress gradually lost its military significance over the years but it was first abandon as a military strong hold in the 1950s.
Today the fort is open to the public and it is a nice place to go and wonder around for a little bit. It is an obvious stop if you go to the ancient village of Hammingberg like we did – but if you are not out on this road already it is a pretty long drive for the fortress.
The fortress is still officially a military position and the Norwegian flag is raised every day of the year. There is also a small detachment of military here which will fire a salute on special occasions which is the national day of Norway on May 17, royal birthdays and a special salute the day when the full disc of the sun is once again visible over the horizon after the long period of darkness during the winter.
Inside the walls of the fortress there is actually some old buildings – they must be older than 1944 and hence they survived the destruction made by the Germans when they retreated from this village. I am not sure why this fortress was left behind – maybe it was just forgotten like Hammingberg when the Germans had to retreat quickly.