Gurre Castle

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Ruins of Gurre Castle, 2007
Sketch of the ruins, 1889

Gurre Castle (Danish: Gurre Slot) was a royal castle in North Zealand in Denmark. Its ruins lie on the outskirts of Helsingør, close to the town of Tikøb on the lake at Gurre (Gurre Sø). Valdemar IV of Denmark died in the castle in 1375.

The castle, now a ruin, was built in the 12th century. Four towers and a perimeter wall were added in the 1350s. It was excavated in the 19th century (from 1835) and is now restored. It was first mentioned in court chronicles in 1364, when Pope Urban V sent a gift of relics to its chapel.

The castle is associated with a legend about a Danish king named Waldemar (usually identified with the 14th-century Valdemar IV Atterdag), his love for his beautiful mistress Tove Lille (Little Tove) and the jealousy of Queen Helvig. Over the centuries, this core saga was enriched by other legends, eventually growing into a national myth of Denmark.

The myth was put into poetical form by the Danish novelist and poet Jens Peter Jacobsen; a German translation of his poems forms the text of the huge cantata Gurre-Lieder by Arnold Schoenberg.

Coordinates: 56°01′10″N 12°30′19″E / 56.01944°N 12.50528°E / 56.01944; 12.50528