Hven's history tour

  • Hven

Hven is rich in history and if you want to learn more and at the same time explore Hven – this is the tour for you. The tour is about 11km long and you can both walk or take a bicycle. If you haven’t brought your own bike you can rent one at the bicycle rental. Below you will find the nine different stops along the history tour as well as information about every stop.

1. Nämndemansgården – Museum of local history

At the first stop you will find Nämndemansgården, a beautiful farmehouse with thatched roof. It dates back to the late 18th century and is a building monument. The farm was moved to its current location in 1790 and is now a museum of local history. At the farm there is two exhibitions you can see. One is “From cradle to grave” where you can experience another era and the other one is “The brick industry”, here you can learn about the era where making bricks was a huge industry on Hven. At Nämndemansgården you can also learn more about the agriculture and fishing on Hven.

2. Tycho Brahe’s paper mill

The water driven paper mill that you see on stop two was the mill that Tycho Brahe used for making paper. He was an astronomer who lived and worked on the Island and printed his own books, therefore in need of paper. The waterwheel is four meters high and in order to power it Tycho constructed sixteen ponds, floodgates and mounds. He used this to store up rainwater as a complement to the Island’s water resources and in that way powering the mill. The mill was used for paper but also for preparation of leather and grinding of grain. The mill operated up to 1598 and was demolished in 1602. At the Tycho Brahe museum, which you will visit further on, you can see a piece of the big waterwheel.

3. Acient monuments

At this stop you can see stone carvings, possible from the Bronze Age. This sort of carvings has been interpreted as a form of cult expression. The various symbols carved into the stone are seen as religious symbols, but we know very little about them. On Hven there is three boulders with stone carvings. All use to be on the hill but two of them have rolled down the hill because of erosion. Two of the boulders have pits, which according to folklore, was used for offerings. This action was believed to bring good health.

4. Tycho brahe museum 

Tycho Brahe is a famous astronomer, astrologer and alchemist who lived and worked on Hven. He lived between 1546 and 1601. On the Island, Tycho Brahe built a castle named Uraniborg, and created an outstanding renaissance garden. The castle does not exist anymore, but there is a model of it at the museum and you can walk inside the parts of the renaissance garden that where reconstructed. 

There is also an ideohistorical playground and path of planets. Inside the museum, that use to be a church, you can see an exhibition and learn about Tycho and his sister Sophie lives and the scientific discoveries. 

Tycho Brahe’s observatory

One of the museums highpoints is the underground observatory. This was Tycho Brahe’s research centre on Hven and the centre for one of the most advanced astronomical research during the 16th century. The work in the observatory contributed greatly to further research in the astronomy field. The underground observatory is fascinating to visit; first, you go down a small stairway and stand on a round plate in the dark. Suddenly you hear a man talking about one night’s observations. What you listen to is an eight-minute long sound and light performance that depicts how it was observing the universe in the observatory.

5. Belfry

In 1747 the belfry was constructed because the assembly on Hven got a new church bell but had nowhere to put it. The belfry was placed far away from the church so that the sound from the bell would be heard all across the island.

6. Sankt Ibb’s church 

At the top of the hill, overlooking Kyrkbackens harbour, you will find the beautiful church of Sankt Ibbs. The church is approximately from the end of the 12th century and is probably dedicated to Sankt Jakob, the merchant’s patron saint. Inside the church, which has room for 150 people, you find Tycho Brahe’s own church bench and an altarpiece painted by Tycho Brahe’s court painter. The church tower was demolished in 1726. During the 20th century, about 1200 people lived on Hven and the little church was not big enough. That is when the Allhelgona church came to, but many of the people on the Island were not very fond about the appearance of the church. When the population fell, the Allhelgona church was sold and today its home of the Tycho Brahe museum.

7. Hven’s oldest lighthouse

The Island have in total five lighthouses. The oldest one is located in the northwest, at Fyrvägen, and is named Ven. The lighthouse was established in 1871 and is a combined lighthouse and house built in tree. It is now a privat resident. The tower has eight edges and is 11 meters high. 400 meters north of the lighthouse, you will find the western lighthouse that is used instead. The three other ones is located at the Islands southern foreland, at the harbour in Kyrkbacken and at the eastern foreland – haken.

8. Norreborg’s harbour – The brick industry 

On Hven, the inhabitants lived on agriculture and fishing, but when that wasn’t sufficient they needed to find a new source of income. In Backafallsbyn, they found that the grounds clay could be of use for bricks and the sea was deep enough for large ships. Furthermore, they found that the necessary machinery to make bricks was not particularly expensive. Finally the cities on the mainland was expanding, in need of bricks for houses. Therefore, in 1850, the brick industry on Hven took form, and it started in Norreborg. 

The harbour in Norreborg was built in 1883 and it made Norreborg the centre of the brick industry. The company Hvens tegelbruk AB, located in Norreborg, grow to be Skåne’s larges brick factory between the end of 1800 and the beginning of 1900. The factory also out concurred the rest of the factories on Hven, in total 14. The brick industry came to an abrupt end in 1948. Because if high costs on shipping, it had become too hard competing with prices on the mainland. The last factory on Hven had to close and the brick industry ended on the Island. Today you can still see bricks along the beaches.

9. The tail of Grimhild

According to folklore and historical maps there was ones four fortresses on Hven: Norreborg, Sönderborg, Karlshöga and Hammars. At this last spot of the tour, by Hakens fyr, it is possible that Hammars fortress have been located. According to folklore, the fighter Nögling built the fotresses. He had two sons, Hogen and Folgmar, and a daughter namned Grimhild. 

Nögling kept his big treasure of silver and guld in the mountain by Hammars borg. The entrance could only be opened with a special key, which he gave to his son Hogen before he past away. Hogen was to share the treasure equally between the three siblings but Grimhild was not happy with her share. 

The time past and Grimhild, with help from two fighters, killed her brothers and took the treasure for herself. Therefore becoming the islands only ruler. Before Hogen was killed, he made one of Grimhild’s maidens – Hvenhild – pregnant. 

Hvenhild gave birth to a son named Ranke and when he was 15 years he got news of his fathers grim fate. He then got the special key that gave access to the treasure. He managed to lure Grimhild to the mountain and look her inside the chambers. Three days later he returned and found Grimhilds to be died. He took as much gold he needed and threw away the key in Öresund. At the exact same moment, the mountain collapsed and Hammars fortress disappeared into the ocean.

Source: Landskrona stad

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