Kronborg is a star fortress situated near the town of Helsingør (immortalized as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet) on the extreme northeastern tip of Zealand at the narrowest point of the Øresund, the sound between Denmarkand Sweden. In this part, the sound is only 4 km wide, hence the strategic importance of maintaining a sea fortress at this location commanding one of the few outlets of the Baltic Sea. The castle has for centuries been one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe and was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list on November 30, 2000. Along with the fortress Kärnan, Helsingborg on the opposite of Øresund, it controlled the entranceway to the Baltic Sea.
Kronborg is known by many also as “Elsinore,” the setting of William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Hamlet was performed in the castle for the first time to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, with a cast consisting of soldiers from the castle garrison. The stage was in the telegraph tower in the southwest corner of the castle. The play has since been performed several times in the courtyard and at various locations on the fortifications. Later performers to play Hamlet at the castle included Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Christopher Plummer, Derek Jacobi, and in 2009 Jude Law.
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