Vadstena Castle (Swedish: Vadstena slott) is a former Royal Castle in Vadstena, the province of Östergötland, Sweden.
History Vadstena Castle was originally built by King Gustav I in 1545 as a fortress to protect Stockholm from enemies from the south. The fortress consisted of three smaller stone buildings facing the lake, Vättern, three 31 meter wide ramparts, a courtyard, a moat and four circular cannons turrets. The original ramparts were torn down in the 19th century and the present ramparts were inaugurated in 1999. The stone buildings later formed the ground floor of the castle. On August 22, 1552, King Gustav I married his third wife, Catherine Stenbock, in Vadstena. One of the castle banqueting halls is called The Wedding Hall (Swedish: Bröllopssalen), although its construction wasn't finished in time for the wedding. The reconstruction from fortress into a castle began in the 1550s, when prince Magnus became Duke of Östergötland. Duke Magnus had a mental illness and was the only son of Gustav I who didn't become king of Sweden. Magnus died in 1595 and is buried in the nearby Abbey Church. In 1620 the castle construction was completed and all the kings of the House of Vasa up till then had led the construction. Since 1620, the castle has been very well preserved, and is one of Sweden's best examples of Renaissance architecture. Vadstena Castle was a royal palace until 1716, when the royal family lost interest in it; after which it became a storage for grain.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.