Thursday's Child: Stockholm, Sweden

Thursday, September 12, 2013

When I think of medieval cities, I usually think of ones that are in central or southern Europe, like Prague, Mont Saint Michel or Carcassone, France.  When we visited Sweden a couple of years ago, I was surprised to see the large, beautifully-preserved medieval section in the centre of Stockholm.

Gamla Stan is Swedish for "the old town", and that's the name given to the medieval area in Stockholm.  Cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, and the abundance of buildings with character made this one of the loveliest cities to explore on foot.  It was almost destroyed, however.  Until the mid-twentieth century, this section was allowed to become rundown, and a number of buildings were even torn down to build the Swedish parliament.

Storkyrkan is the oldest church in Gamla Stan.  It was built in the thirteenth century and, because it's so close to Stockholm Palace, it has accommodated many of the Swedish royal weddings  and coronations.
Across the square from Storkyrkan is the Old Stock exchange, which houses the Swedish Academy, where the announcement is made every year about the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The German Church (Tyska Kyrkan) was built to serve the religious needs of the large number of German merchants and craftsmen who had settled in Stockholm.  Until the mid-sixteenth century they had no place to worship.  But in 1558, King Gustav permitted them to hold sermons in the German language, and soon they built their own church.  The German Church is dedicated to Saint Gertrude, the patron saint of travellers.

After watching the changing of the guard, we were ready for lunch. We chose a small cafe in Gamla Stan, just outside of the palace courtyard. The Swedish meatballs with lingonberries were fabulous! 

Even street art reflects the beauty of the old town.

If North American phone booths looked like this, they never would have gone out of style.


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty jealous you've tried authentic Swedish meatballs! Yum.

I think it's pretty cool that you saw medieval buildings, too. I would never expect that!

Gloria Baker said...

These pictures look wonderful Beth!
Love the church!!

Valerie Gamine said...

Beautiful photos! I have always, always, wanted to visit Sweden - it looks absolutely pristine! If only I had meatballs and lingonberries for dinner instead of cereal. :D

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome pictures, Beth. I think the medieval part of the city would be where I'd want to be too.

Belinda said...

That is the best telephone booth. That photo of the Swedish meatballs fills me with delight.

CQUEK said...

Stockholm - gosh a beautiful place to stay. i love the old town.

Barbara said...

I regret that I've never been to Sweden. Was interested to see your photos of the medieval section. And the church is lovely!

grace said...

sweden is definitely on my must-visit list, though i'm not looking forward to standing near all those buxom blondes... :)

Joanne said...

I'm so glad they preserved some of it! Must be almost magical to see!

Post a Comment