The Royal estate to
For more than 600 years, Hovgården on
Adelsö was a royal estate, throughout the Viking Age and
into the Middle Ages.
On a hill by the water with a view over
the bay and away towards Birka, the kings had their
large buildings, throughout the Viking Age and into the
Middle Ages, for more than 600 years. During the Viking
Age it was a large hall building with room for many
guests, during the Middle Ages the castle Alsnöhus was
(During the Viking Age, the shoreline was
5 meters higher on land than today. The map above shows
the Viking Age shoreline with these blue marks -
Today, only small parts of the castle
ruin are visible above ground, but below the surface the
basement is preserved.
The basement is built of brick
and does not withstand moisture and frost, so after the
great excavation in 1916, it was filled with soil to be
protected and preserved for the future.
The king's runestone
The large runestone is still on the quay at the
entrance to the Viking-era harbor. The harbor is today
drained due to the land uplift.
The front of the
runestone is directed towards the boats and ships that
were on their way into the harbor.
The runic inscription tells of the
king's courtier Tolir and his wife Gyla but also of King
Hakon himself who ruled here around 1070.
Today, the runestone is only painted in
the carvings, but when it was new it had many colors.
Then it was easy to see how the dragon and the snakes
were bound together on the surface of the stone.
In the Runestone Park
you can see what it looked like when it was new, with
There are also runestones in the
Adelsö church is from the 12th century and there are two
more runestones. They are walled in the sacristy wall
and difficult to see because it is usually locked.
third rune stone was destroyed when the armory burned
down a long time ago, but the runic inscription had time
to be documented.
The rune stones in the sacristy. The
right one is walled up and down. In the Runestone Park,
it is upright and has regained its colors.
You can see all runestones from Hovgården
and more in the Runestone Park. There, the rune stones
are depicted in natural size and with colors as 1000
In the Runestone Park you can also buy
guide booklet for Birka and Hovgården.
The large royal mounds north of
the church impress in the landscape. The largest burial
mound is 46 meters in diameter and 6.5 meters high.
of the royal mounds have been excavated.
A little north of the royal mounds is the burial mound
called Skopintull, a large and rich tomb from the 10th
century. It was excavated in 1917 and the many and
unusual objects found then could be seen for a long time
at the Historical Museum in Stockholm in its own stand.
(West of Hovgården, left edge of the map)
1500 years ago when the water level was
about 7 meters higher on land than today, Adelsö was
divided in the middle due to the high water.
Hovgårdsberg then came to lie on a headland in the south
with the strait below.
One of Hovgårdsberg's burial grounds is
from the 6th century, which consists of many low and
beautiful rock formations. Today these are difficult to
discern in the landscape.
In 1950, they dug for a new house
foundation in Hovgårdsberg and then happened to end up
in the middle of a grave. In the burned grave was found
this buckle that belonged to a woman's costume.
What else is in Hovgården?
In addition to the well-visited café next to the church
and the royal mounds, there is also a swimming and rest
area directly north of the World Heritage Site.
north of that site is Alsnu gård.
Alsnu gård is a free
reconstruction of a Viking age farm in a beautiful and
undisturbed place. Here you can see what a Viking-era
house of 13 meters looked like.
Guide or guide booklet?
A guided tour of Hovgården takes about
Price SEK 1500. 10 participants included.
Extra participants (in addition to the 10 included) SEK
100 per person).
Bus group: SEK 3500. (max 50 participants).
If you want to experience Hovgården on your own, I
recommend my detailed guide booklet, which can be
pre-ordered or purchased directly in the
Booking and ordering
Phone: +46 70-776 48 22
- Swish: 070-776 48 22
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