Stockholm is situated by and “in” water and exactly this makes the city so charming. Sodermalms (Södermalm) heights overlooking the city and the ancient forests on the island of Djurgarden form striking contrasts
In the Swedish metropolis stands a tower that offers an exceptional view – from the 155 meter high Kaknas Tower (Kaknästårnet) you can in clear weather watch the entire 60 km – from Stadshuset to Globen, over skyline at Hotorget (Hötorget), the city’s archipelago and out to the farthest fringes of Greater Stockholm!
In Svea’s land
Long before the foundation of the city, Vikings populated the area where the Baltic Sea and Malaren (Mälaren) meet. Between 800 AC and 1050 AC they were blooming, and at Malaren evolved lively commercial interests. One of the most important was the island Bjorko (Björkö) near present day Stockholm, and the island was in 1993 declared a World Heritage Site. First time Stockholm was mentioned is in the 1200s, and the place got city status in 1270. The favorable strategic location made the ambitious city an important force in Scandinavia.
Stockholm’s Old Town
With the secession of Denmark in 1523 began Stocholm’s advancement to a royal residence. From 1634 Stockholm was also the capital. At this time some of the magnificent buildings and palaces in The Old Town (Gamla Stan) was built – for instance The House of Nobility (1641-1674), Axel Oxenstiernas Palace (1653-1668), the former National Bank and St. Gertrud’s Church or The German Church, the church of the German merchants who had their trading lined along Vasterlang street (Västerlånggatan). In Gamla Stan, we also find buildings from further back, such as the Cathedral St. Nikolai from the 1200s. It is the coronation church for the Swedish royal family. Here Carl Gustaf 16th married with his bourgeois Silvia.
One of the most popular attractions is the change of guards at the Castle Square. The Royal Palace has more to offer. Created by Europe’s most skilled and famous artists and craftmen. The 608 rooms – three times more than Buckingham Palace in London – is the world’s largest royal castle. In the National Hall and the Castle Church (Slottskirken) one can see the magnificent Bernadotte Rooms (Bernadotterrommene), King Gustav 3.s antique museum, the Armory and Museum Tre Kronor. Today the royal family lives some kilometers further west at the baroque castle Drottningholm (read more here), which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1991.
Skansen – World’s oldest open-air museum
Ever since 1891, Skansen have been a popular destination for young and old. Here the past comes to life. You can see fine, old farmer houses, manor houses and workers houses from all over Sweden. A small zoo is on the site. Wolves, bears, wolverines, reindeer and of course elk live here in spacious enclosures. It is a living museum where you can learn a lot about Sweden’s past and have a lot of fun. (click here for more information)
A maze of an archipelago
Stocholm would not have been Stockholm without the archipelago with its total of 24,000 islands, islets and reefs. Most archipelago boats embark Strömkajen Harbour and Nybroviken. A very special experience is a ride on one of the restored, picturesque steamships. The trip to Vaxholm takes about an hour, to Drottningholm Castle it take about fifty minutes-this is something you definitely should not miss. Worth seeing is also Sandhamn and Uto (Utö) with its beautiful landscape.
Facts about Stockholm:
City Population: 780000
Attractions: Bondeska Palace, Katharina Church, Royal Castle, Oxenstiernes Palace, House of Nobility, Skansen, Stadsholmen, Stadshuset, The Great Church, Tessin Palace, The German Church, Vasa Museum, Stockholm City Museum