Egeskov Castle (Danish: Egeskov Slot) is located in the south of the island of Funen, Denmark. The castle is Europe’s best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Egeskov’s history dates to the 14th century. The castle structure was erected by Frands Brockenhuus in 1554.
Due to the troubles caused by the civil war known as the Count’s Feud (Danish: Grevens fejde), general civil unrest, and a civil war introducing the Protestant Reformation, most Danish noblemen built their homes as fortifications. The castle is constructed on oaken piles and located in a small lake with a maximum depth of 5 metres (16 ft). Originally, the only access was by means of a drawbridge. According to legend, it took an entire forest of oak trees to build the foundation, hence the name Egeskov (“oak forest”).
The castle consists of two long buildings connected by a thick double wall, allowing defenders to abandon one house and continue fighting from the other. The double wall is over one meter thick and contains secret staircases and a well. Defenders were able to attack an enemy’s flanks from the two round corner towers. Other medieval defences include artillery ports, scalding holes and arrow slits. The bricks composing the castle are of an oversized medieval type sometimes called “monks bricks”. The conical towers are constructed in a series of separate panels.
The architecture includes depressed and round-arched windows, round-arched blank arcading within the gables, and a double string course between the high cellar and the ground floor. The structure contains some of the early indoor plumbing design first used in Europe with vertical shafts for waste. The thick double wall also contains a water well which is accessed from the servants kitchen in the east house. Several of the large rooms have massive parallel exposed beams with some end carving.