Gothenburg’s fine seventeenth- and eighteenth-century defences can still be deduced from the layout of today’s streets,although the city walls were dismantled in 1806.A few remnants, including underground ones, still remain. The city walls had three land gates and two from the water.
Firstly we stood atop one of the few remaining bastions of what was the fourth and final stage of the city defences. From it we could see the nearby massive Crown Redoubt which was fitted with 23 cannons and originally connected to the bastions by a covered walkway. Like its twin, Lion Redoubt, it was built to protect the city against attack by the Danes from the south. Built from huge granite blocks, the defences would have been the only stone structures as houses were all wooden-built even after the disastrous fire of 1804.
Next we descended into what was originally an eighteenth-century gunpowder store. As such it was lined with brickwork, exquisitely executed, to prevent the sparking that a granite finish might cause. It appears the structure suffered from damp and so was converted to a prison and housed 114 Russian prisoners of war for two years.
Adjacent to the west or Charles Gate, the site was used as an air-raid shelter in World War II. One youngster who lost a football through a vent into the shelter in the 1950s was amazed to have it returned sixty years later (still inflated) when archaeologists found it.
Next we entered an underground car park and were able to see the preserved remains of an orillon (an ear-shaped defensive projection from a bastion). Finally we entered some underground galleries that have fortuitously been preserved in front of what was the city hospital. Dating from around 1700, the galleries radiate out from a central point and terminate in casemates. Part of one of the galleries has been used at some stage as a drainage channel so perhaps when the hospital was built the galleries were used thus and preserved.