Gamla Stan in Stockholm

Gamla Stan main

View of Gamla Stan

Photo by: Wigulf, Creative Commons

For those who fancy living in a museum, Gamla Stan in Stockholm, Sweden is the place to go to. Dating back to the 13th century, this is where Stockholm was founded. Literally meaning “The Old City”, Gamla Stan primarily consists of the island of Stadsholmen. Aside from being one of the largest, it also holds the distinction of being the best-preserved medieval city center in Europe.

Everywhere you turn, there are medieval alleyways, cobbled streets, and archaic architecture of North German influence. Majority of the buildings date back from the 17th and 18th centuries. At present, 3000 people live and work in this Old City.

In order to soak in the atmosphere of the place, it is best to just walk around and see what there is to discover. Walking through the cobblestone paths, you will chance upon wonderful restaurants, cafes, bars, studios, museums, churches, and shops. In the summer, you’d feel like you’re walking around in a giant museum. During the snowy winter, it transforms into some kind of fairy tale movie set.

Highlights of touring the old city that you shouldn’t miss are the Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Museum, and the Royal Castle and its museum. Other medieval churches of note are the Tyska Kyrkan (“the German church”) and the Riddarholmen Church. The latter is a royal burial church, originally built as a Franciscan monastery in the thirteenth century.

If you want to soak in more information and artifacts, other museums to visit are the Cornelis Vreeswijkmuseet, The Royal Mint agency, Livrustkammaren, Nobelmuseet, Postmuseum, and Stockholms Medeltidsmuseum. Exhibitions range from the lives of Swedish royalty thru the ages to world history as seen through the lives of Nobel Prize winners.

After all that walking and exploring, it is best to just hang out in Stor Torget (“the big square”), sitting in one of the outdoor cafes and sipping a cup of coffee.

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