Helsingor, Denmark                
The spot where Kronborg is built is at the narrowest point of the Oresund, the strait that runs between Denmark and Sweden: Head north and you're in the Baltic, head south and you're approaching Copenhagen. The first fortification was built there by King Eric of Pomerania (1382-1459) (king of Norway, Sweden and Denmark! You go, Eric!) in the 1420's, and was called Krogen. The king demanded "sound dues" from all vessels wishing to enter or leave the Baltic sea via this route. A ship's fee for passage was based on its cargo's value: If the king wished, he had the right to buy the cargo for the stated price.

King Frederick II (1534-1588) built the beginnings of what Kronborg is today in 1585: It was a lovely and unique Renaissance castle much renowned throughout Europe, until clumsy workmen burned most of it down in 1629. Great effort was put into restoring the castle to its former glory.

In 1658 the Swedes paddled across the sound and took Kronborg without too much difficulty. Once the Danes got it back, they spent 1688-1690 adding scary things to Kronborg's defences, after which it was widely considered to be the strongest fortification in Europe.

From 1739 until the 20th century, Kronborg was used as a prison. Denmark's Queen Caroline Mathilde (sister of King George II of England) was imprisoned there for a few months in 1772, having something to do with a wicked affair with the king's royal physycian.

Kronborg was also the inspiration for Elsinore, the setting of William Shakespeare's famous play, Hamlet. The play was performed at Kronborg in 1816, on the 200th anniversary of Sakespeare's death.

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Thanks to Google Maps for the image!