Carlsten is a stone fortress located at Marstrand, on the western coast of Sweden. The fortress was built on the orders of King Carl X of Sweden following the Treaty of Roskilde, 1658 to protect the newly acquired province of Bohuslän from hostile attacks. (Wikipedia)
On our way up to the fortress.
A couple of weeks ago, a beautiful sunday morning, I visited Carlstens Fortress together with some of my family. Such a beautiful place to be, and the weather made it even more perfect. Not that easy to take those really grand photos though, that recquire some thought, when you have your youngest (2 years) running about in need of supervision. So I have to come back and spend a whole day there photographing. Here are some of my shots.
A canon from 1792, still in use. Cool!
Since Carlsten used to be a prison there are a lot of stories about the convicts housed by the fortress. The most famous one is “Lasse Maja”, a thief who disguised himself as a female and pretended to be a maid, housekeeper as well as a prostitute while stealing from the employers or customers. In his biography, Lars Molin, as his real name was, wrote that he actually lived as a woman from time to time. Not only while committing crimes, but as a way of life. He was sentenced to a lifetime in prison in 1812 after stealing the silver from Järfälla church.
Above the cell door, the sign tell us that this used to be Lasse Majas quarters.
While living as a woman, he learnt a lot of new skills. One of those were cooking, which made him serve his time at the fortress as one of the chefs for a long time. He also wrote a book about his adventurous life. Due to his popularity and work to help other convicts to endure the harsh life at the fortress, he was pardoned by the king in 1838, and died at his farm in 1845.
The only female prisoner at the fortress was named Metta Fock. She was accused of the murders of her husband and two children. She claimed her innocense and since there was a lack of evidence, the authorities decided she would be housearrested until she either confessed or died. She spent her arrest in the fortress between 1806 and 1809. What one should consider here is that the fortress is completely made out of stone, and the winters at the time were freezing. Many convicts died of diseases due to the cold, harsh conditions they lived in. Lacking paper and pencil, she still declared her innocence by embroidering a letter to the authourites on a piece of fabric that remains today on display at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.In 1809 she confessed to the murders, and was sentenced to death. Before she was beheaded in november 1810, her hand was cut off, and afterwards, her body burnt. This happened only 200 years ago. Whether she actually was guilty or not, who knows?
When I visit next time, I will visit Mettas own cell, something that simply was not possible this time. I also strongly recommend the novel Mercurium by Ann Rosman that tells the story of Mettas life.