In his footsteps - Places with connection to Tycho Brahe
Some of the places mentioned here are privately owned, which means that it is not certain that they are open to the general public. Guided tours are arranged at some places. Contact any Tourist Information Office in Scania: www.landskrona.se/turist or access the homepage of the place you are interested in for further information.
Knutstorp is situated about 8 kilometres to the north-east of Svalöv in Scania. It was here that Tycho Brahe was born in 1546. At that time, the stronghold consisted of four wings but today only one of these remains. In 1551 it was rebuilt in Nordic Renaissance style. Over the original 16th century entrance to the manor house there hangs a stone tablet, which commemorates those responsible for the rebuilding, namely Otte Brahe and Beata Bille, Tycho’s parents. In the blocked up original entrance to the manor house there is a stone that Tycho Brahe had made in connection with the building of a paper mill on the island of Hven. The stone was brought to Knutstorp in 1740. In 1594 Tycho Brahe sold his share in Knutstorp to his brother Steen Brahe. The last of the Brahe family at Knutstorp was Steen Brahe the Younger. He owned the estate until 1677, when it was confiscated by the Swedish Crown.
The Tosterup Castle lies 12 km north-east of Ystad. The castle came into the possession of the Brahe family in the mid 15th Century. It was here that Tycho Brahe grew up with his uncle Jörgen Brahe and his aunt Inger Oxe. Separated from his brothers and sisters at Knutstorp, Tycho was the only child at Tosterup. It is said that Jörgen Brahe more or less "kidnapped" Tycho from his brother Otte Brahe at Knutstorp when Tycho was barely a year old. Jörgen Brahe made Tycho his heir and made sure that he received a university education, which he started when he was 14 years old. The last Brahe at Tosterup was Jörgen Axelsen Brahe. When he died in 1640, Tosterup passed out of the Brahe family’s possession.
The area around the castle is open to the public.
Herrevadskloster is situated between Klippan and Ljungbyhed on the northern slope of the Söderåsen ridge.
It was originally a Cistercian monastery and later on a State demesne. Steen Bille, Tycho’s maternal uncle, was endowed with Herrevadskloster between 1565 and 1585. During his time here a paper-mill was built that is said to be the origin of Klippan’s paper-mill. A glassworks was also established.
It was during a visit to Herrevadskloster that Tycho Brahe discovered "The New Star" in 1572. There is not much left here now from Tycho’s time, but a stone commemorating his discovery was raised in 1947.
Benatky nad Jizerou
When Tycho arrives in Prague in 1599, to visit Emperor Rudolf II, the Emperor gives him the offer to choose between three different castles and select the most suitable one for the creation of the new "Uraniborg". Tycho’s choice is the Benatky Castle, placed high on a rock with unobstructed view towards a wide horizon. He moves with his family in the summer of 1599, and immediately starts rebuilding the castle for its new purpose. This is where Tycho and Johannes Kepler meet for the first time in the beginning of 1600. After one year at Benatky, Tycho is called back to Prague by the Emperor, who wants him closer. Today, the castle is a museum for the region around Benatky nad Jizerou, and in two of the rooms a display about Tycho Brahe is being shown.
The island of Ven
You can get to the island of Hven in the Öresund sound by boat from Landskrona. www.ventrafiken.se
Tycho Brahe was active on Hven from 1576 until 1597, and in just a few years he turned Hven into a centre for scientific research.
In the middle of Hven’s highest point lie Uraniborg and Stjärneborg, both memorials to Tycho Brahe. The gardens around Uraniborg are partially reconstructed with the help of a research project, where a documented 16th Century origin is a required prerequisite for the examples of each respective species that are planted at the site. The garden is open all year round.
The foundations of Stjärneborg, Tycho Brahe’s partially underground observatory, still exist. They can be seen through the cupolas that were built over the site in the 1950’s. The place where the paper-mill was situated at Hven’s south-western Backafall is marked, and you can make out the formations left by the pools.
Saint Ibb’s Church
This beautifully-situated church was built in the 13th and 15th centuries. Saint Ibb was chosen as the church’s patron saint. This is probably an abbreviation of Saint Jacob (the apostle James) the patron saint of merchants.
The altar-piece in the church was a gift from Tycho Brahe, and was painted by Tobias Gemberlin in 1578.
Below the hymn board there are pew ends of oak that bear the Brahe coat of arms. A portrait depicting Tycho Brahe was given to the church by Skandisnaviska sällskapet in Copenhagen. in 1846 at the time of great celebrations on the island commemorating Tycho Brahe’s 300th birthday.
Rundetaarn (The Round Tower)
Rundetårn at Koebmagergade 52A in Copenhagen is Europe’s oldest preserved astronomical observatory. It was built in 1637-1642, commissioned by King Christian IV. The tower was part of a large complex including an observatory, a library and a church for students at the university.
The observatory was designed by Tycho Brahe’s student Christen Sorensen Longomontanus. He had Stjärneborg on Hven as inspiration and the instruments that were installed were almost identical. It was used as a scientific observatory by the University of Copenhagen up until 1861. Today anyone may come here to study the heavens by telescope. www.rundetaarn.dk/engelsk/frames.htm
The Tycho Brahe Planetarium
The Tycho Brahe Planetarium on Gl. Kongevej 10 in Copenhagen opened in 1989, and is Denmark’s centre for information about astronomy and space travel.
The planetarium has both historical and contemporary exhibitions, and an Omnimax theatre with 272 seats, where films and star shows are shown. www.tycho.dk
Tycho Brahe had a house in Tågalycka, just outside Väsby, which lies several kilometres north of Höganäs. The oldest parts of Väsby church date back to the 13th century. In the southern sanctuary hangs a brass plate that formerly was attached to Tycho Brahe’s son Claudius’ gravestone. On the plate, a memorial verse in Latin is engraved. Maybe Tycho himself engraved it.
In (hallowed) memory
Here, in his little coffin, rests peacefully little Claudius,
Who in life had no resting place anywhere on Earth’s sphere
Just once did nature allow him to appear on the Earth and
Then summoned him to return above
Only six days old, at that young age,
free from Earthly contamination, without any confining weight (chain)
He had to go to Heaven, where now instead of a few
Measured days, he is a part of eternity’s timeless rhythm
And rejoices in the possession of an unsullied peace.
Died in year of Our Lord 1577 on the 7th of January, born on the 2nd
of the same month
Kågeröd’s church lies approximately 20 kilometres north-east of Landskrona.
It was built in three stages. The oldest part is from the late 12th century, or early 13th century. In the vestry is Otto Brahe’s and Beata Bille’s gravestone. They were Tycho Brahe’s parents. There is also a gravestone for Niels Hansen. The stone reads:
In the year 1580, on the 4th day of Martinmas, Niels Hanssen died Who was the son of the late Herr Hans Niels from Hven, whose Soul God possesses
One theory is that Niels Hanssen was the brother of Kristine, Tychos Brahe’s wife, and that it was Tycho who had him buried in Kågeröd. Herr Hans Nielssen was probably parson on the island of Hven. According to this theory then, Tycho’s wife was the daughter of the parson on Hven, and her maiden name was Kristine Hansdatter. According to other theories, she was from the Kågeröd region, and her maiden name was Kristine (Kirstine, Kirsten) Jörgensdatter.
At the bottom of the south wall in the church is an epitaph for Tycho Brahe’s parents, Otte Brahe and Beate Bille, and their 10 children.
The Trolleholm Castle
The Trolleholm Castle lies approximately 30 kilometres east of Landskrona.
Throughout history, it has had three different names. In medieval times, it was called Kattisnabbe, during the Renaissance, it was known as Ericsholm, and in the 18th century it became Trolleholm. It was here that Tycho Brahe’s sister Sophie Brahe lived after her marriage to Otto Thott.
At Ericsholm, she laid out a garden that became famous and was considered to be unique in the Nordic countries. Here she cultivated herbs, which she used in her medical studies. In her workroom in one of the castle’s towers, she pursued her studies in such subjects as mathematics, astronomy and astrology.
Trolleholm is not open to the general public.
Torrlösa is situated approximately 25 kilometres east of Landskrona. On the other side of the road from the present Torrlösa Church is a memorial stone for Tycho Brahe’s sister - Sophie Brahe. The stone was raised in 1914 by Gustav Trolle Bonde. Sophie Brahe died in Helsingör, but some years later her remains were moved to the Thott family’s old Chapel next to the Torrlösa church of that time. The chapel was destroyed in 1862, the epitaphs were dispersed, and the coffins were broken up. The remains were then buried on the site of the chapel.