Ismantorp’s Castle is surrounded by wetlands in the forest center of the island and is both an archeologic mystery as much as a lovely excursion. Next to the big, powerful ancient castle is a very small red cottage which works as a coffee-lemonade- Danish pastry cottage etc. for the castles visitors for generations. It lies in a scenic location.
Ismantorp’s Castle is one of Öland’s largest ancient castles with a diameter at 127 meters. Inside the 3-4 meter high wall is 88 building foundations grouped in radial blocks. The wall is provided with 9 gates. The Castle is unique because of the building foundations are very well visible above ground. The archaeological survey’s that have been made hasn’t showed any dated findings.
The castle has most likely been built during the late Iron Age (0-500 AD). Along the wall of the castle there are some quarries which may have been raised when the castle was built. Practically all the space inside the ring wall has been occupied by settlements. Here are trails of both smaller and larger houses along the streets and alley’s which connect the castles areas parts with the gates in the ramparts. The floor plan is a reminder of a medieval community and there is also a square in the center of the castles settlement.
The castle is mentioned for the first time by J.H: Rhezelius year 1634, and has since been noticed by for an example, Linné, but also by other travelers and antiquarians. A couple building foundations in the south part has been investigated by Mårten Stenberger. Only a couple of curing pits was encountered in one of the houses. Even the older investigations have turned out empty handed. The floor plan over the castle corresponds to Eketorp II. The ground area around the castle is owned and cared of by Vitterhetsakademin. Over the years orchids has started to grow more frequently. Close to the castle there’s a coffee cabin.
The theories about Ismantorp’s usage have been divided. A fortification speaks of a protection function but also the large number of ports represents a deficit weakness. Ismantorp has been compared with the big Slavic castles which both functioned as protection and as shrines. Other resources consider the castle as a part of other stock of castles on Öland. Ismantorp would according to this theory unite in a form of national defense with a united organization.
Ismantorp’s Castle lies at the bounds of five parishes and in the middle of the forest. To get to Ismantorp you drive via a small road, Långlöt-Vedby, or from the 136 via Rälla towards Högsrum and continue east. Signs will show the way towards a parking lot a few hundred meters from the castle.