Morgondis över Kastelholms slott.

The fascinating history of Kastelholm

Discover the well-preserved ruins of a medieval castle, a prison museum with chilling stories, and how a farm in Åland looked in the past.

Kastelholm Castle had its heyday during the Vasa era in the 16th century when Åland was a castle province of Sweden, and Gustav Vasa and his sons ruled. A visit to the castle ruins today offers a wide selection of Åland’s history with many contrasts. For several hundred years, the castle was Åland’s administrative centre, and both royalty and other fine folk passed through. Celebrations included fantastic feasts, where fine game meat and hundreds of litres of beer were enjoyed. On the other hand, the women accused of witchcraft in Finland’s largest witch trial were imprisoned in the castle. The stories come to life through the castle’s museum hosts and guides, who bring memories to life in the historical surroundings.

Behind the castle is the Jan Karlsgården open-air museum, Ålands Skansen, with older buildings from the 1800s and even more stories about olden times. For example a cow shed, oxen stable, smithy, smoke sauna and the main house. All buildings are open for visitors. Events are arranged during the summer, including Midsummer Eve’s celebrations, and a traditional Christmas market. In July there are child-friendly activities.

Exiting prison museum

The prison museum of Vita Björn is located opposite Jan Karlsgården. The prison was built in 1784 and it is the oldest preserved prison building in Finland. Next to the museum area there is a popular discgolf course.