In My Heart
Vardohus fortress is the world's northernmost fortress
The Vardohus fortress on the Arctic coastWhen you come to the end of the E-75, you find the Vardohus fortress on a small island of Vardo. The island is connected to mainland by an underwater tunnel. This is the world's northernmost fortress and the easternmost fortress in Norway. It is one Norway’s oldest fortresses. And it is the only fortress in Lapland.
The fortress we see today was built between 1734 and 1738 and is formed as an octagonal star with many small buildings inside. The first fortress was built in the early years of the 1300s. This is the third fortress to be built in Vardø. Originally it was built to mark the sovereignty of Denmark-Norway in the northern areas.
The building style represents an international, military style. The fortress has been changed several times. Most of the changes were made during the Napoleonic wars between 1807 and 1814. The only of original buildings left is the powder house.
Photos: Olav E. Johansen/Ossimellom
The command of the fortress is now the responsibility of the Royal Norwegian Navy. The fortress is manned by a commander with only four soldiers. Today the fortress has no practical military purposes and serves primarily as a salute fortress, firing gun salutes on the Norwegian Constitution Day (17 May), dissolution of the Union with Sweden Day (7 June) and on all royal birthdays. Its symbolic value as “the flag post towards the east” has always been important.
A specialtyfor Vardøhus Fortress is that they salute the returning of the sun with two shots every year. This is to mark the end of the Arctic winter darkness. Then students at the Vardø schools can leave for the rest of the day.
Vardøhus celebrated its 700th anniversary in 2007. There are exhibitions showing the history of the fortress. There is also an exhibition of cannons and motorcycles. Guided tours are available on request. There is an admission fee.
Through the year there are different activities and programs at the fortress and the museum. Read more about the Vardohus fortress
And read about a winter photo trip we made to Vardø.