Stockholm Old Town has been a destination of many people, particularly those who want to witness something new. However, most of them do not know that the town is among the oldest on the globe.
Even though most of the buildings date back to the 1700s and 1800s, the town dates back to the 13th century. Some of the things that characterize it include charming alleyways, cobbled streets, rust-coloured townhouses, faded mustard and meeting squares.
Stortorget has remained the main square of the Old Town and every big attraction, including The Royal Chapel (Storkyrkan) and Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet), lead off it around the corner.
Daniel Westling married Crown Princess Victoria in the place in June 2010. Nearly 3,000 individuals live in Stockholm Old Town. The city is characterised by many tourist shops, restaurants, cafes, galleries, studios and museums such as the Nobel Museum.
One of the things you should not be ready to miss when touring the place is the changing of guards, which takes place each day outside the Royal Palace. In summer, you should be ready to listen to military bands and to witness horse parades.
Celebrate The birthday of King Carl Gustaf XV1 ON 30th April. Enjoy the meals served in some of the oldest restaurants in Stockholm and the world, Den Gyldene Freden, which was opened in 1721 and is famous for the served traditional Swedish fare.
Why the town was named “Stockholm Old Town”
Originally Stockholm was referred to as Gamla Stan, which means Old Town, but as the number of people increased, it started referring to many suburban areas in addition to the Metro region.
In Swedish, Stockholm means a log island and there is a brief legend to explain why people chose the name. Originally, the capital of Sweden was situated in Sigtuna.
Around 1000 years ago, armed gangs started attacking Sigtuna something that influenced the need for another location of Sweden’s capital. The legend states that leaders of Sigtuna took a huge log of wood, removed its inside and filled it with gold.
They left it floating on water. It floated for several days until it hit an island, on the current location of Old Town.
The leaders named the island Stockholm (log island), meaning the point where the log had hit the ground. They then decided to start the new capital in this place.
From the island, they could easily fight the armed gangs and it would be easier to trade.
Today, you will find a sculpture symbolizing the log full of gold in Stadshuset, Stockholm City Hall. Until the mid-19th century, Stockholm Old Town was known as Sjalva Staden (“the city itself), possibly because every other area surrounding it was rural (known as “the ridges).
Fascinating historical sites of Stockholm Old Town
Gamla Stan dates back to 1252 AD. It consists of three islets, Helgeandsholmen, Helgeanndsholmen and Sromsborg alongside the Stadsholmen Island. Most of the houses and buildings within the town were built between the 18th and 19th century but despite their old age, they are still beautiful. Some of the beautiful historical attractions and sights to try include:
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is among the largest Palaces in the World with more than 600 rooms. Its construction took around 60 years during the 18th century, after the first palace burnt down.
As a visitor, you will see the silver throne, reception rooms, Armoury containing armour and costumes in addition to coronation carriages and five museums. Even though the royal family does not live there, it is their official residence.
Storkyrkan – Stockholm Cathedral
The Great Cathedral of Stockholm towers over Stockholm Old Town. It is where the Swedish Royals are crowned and get married.
Built in the year 1279, the cathedral houses many historical sculptures and paintings under the Gothic-style vaulted ceiling. Most classical musical concerts are held in the place.
Sorkyrkan, also known as Sweden’s Royal Cathedral, is the most ancient church in Stockholm Old Town.
It was rebuilt in the 1300s after fire destruction, on the same century the basilica was reconstructed. Its architectural styles consist of a Gothic style interior and its exterior is of Baroque style.
It features a Dragon Sculpture and that of St George. It is usually open each day between 9 am and 4 pm.
The Riksdag, Swedish Parliament, sits on Helgeandsholmen island.
Its library was established in 1851 and it has remained open for the public.
The Royal Dramatic Theatre
This unusual theater displays elaborate artefacts and funerals of the Royal family members between 1500s and 1900s.
The museum is usually open from July to August from 10 am to 6 pm each day; September to December Tuesday to Sunday between 11 am and 5 pm and Thursdays from 11 am to 8 pm.
The Nobelmuseet, also known as the Nobel Prize Museum, displays many beautiful works of Nobel laureates.
Some of the works are displayed on video. One of them is the recorded speech of Martin Luther King Junior.
It is usually open from Monday to Sunday between 10 am and 8 pm in summer months and Tuesday 11 am to 8 pm and between Wednesday and Sunday at 11 am to 5 pm in the cold winter months.
Stortorget still stands as the oldest square of Stockholm Old City and possibly, the most photographed spot in Sweden.
In addition to that, Stortorget was a site of one of some of the darkest moments of the city in 1520, referred to as the Stockholm Bloodbath.
Sweden, at that time, was under the control of Danish and during the coronation party, the new king executed 92 members of the Swedish nobility who had attended the coronation.
The red house has 92 grey stones, which serve as a memory for the people who died on that day. In this place, you will find the Nobel Library and Nobel Museum.
After you have witnessed the big palace and visited the museums, it will be time to have fika. Swedes do fika with a sweet and coffee, almost every day of the week.
The place to have it is Chokladkoppen. In addition to the nice-sounding name, the café situated at Stortorget Square offers great pastries for people to enjoy a good ending of their day.
And regardless of where you will be staying, Getting to the Old Town is easier through public transport.