Stockholm's mesmerizing and amazingly well preserved Old Town, is one of the top go-to destinations for all visitors to Sweden. Also known as Gamla Stan, this charming and well preserved first town of this magnificent city, is the finest in Europe.
There are grandiose buildings, town squares designed for meetings, sun-faded rusty-mustard coloured town houses, fascinating alleyways, and a unique cobbled street labyrinth.
History of the Old Town of Stockholm
Gamla Stan dates back as far as 1252 AD, and comprises three islets, Strömsborg, Helgeandsholmen and Helgeandsholmen, along with Stadsholmen island. Most houses and other buildings were built in the 18th and 19th century, although there are still wonderful sites from hundreds of years prior.
Some of the Fascinating Historical Sights and Attractions are:
The Royal Palace
This stupendous palace boasting hundreds of Rococo style rooms, is the office of the country's Royal Family. It is built on the same site as Tre Kronor, which dated back to medieval times, and was destroyed in a fire in the 1600s.
Here you can visit 5 museums which include Queen Kristina's silver throne, and the Hall of the State. You can also see the spectacular Changing of the Guard.
The address of the Swedish Royal Palace is: Slottsbacken 1, old Town, Stockholm, and the times of opening are: 10am – 5pm.
Helgeandsholmen, on the outskirts of Gamla Stan, is the site of the Neoclassical Riksdaghuset, which is the name for the Swedish Parliament. Amazingly, this magnificent building occupies around fifty percent of the island. Here you can take one of the English guided tours which last an hour, and for which there is no charge.
A visit here is a must for anyone interested in architecture. The Corinthian columns, Neoclassical wings and Neo-Baroque façade are stunning.
The address is: Riksgatan 3, Stockholm, and the English-speaking tour hours are: October to early June Saturday and Sunday at 1.30pm. And weekdays at the end of June to the end of August at 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Storkyrkan, which is the Old Town's most ancient church, is known as Sweden's Royal Cathedral. It dates to the 1300s, when it was initially constructed as a chapel. Later, due to a fire in the 1300s, it was reconstructed in the same century, as a basilica.
This wonderful example of different architectural styles comprises a Gothic style interior and a Baroque style exterior. It also features the famous St George and his Dragon sculpture.
The address is: Stortorget 1, Stockholm, and the opening hours are: 9am to 4pm.
The Nobelmuseet, which means the Nobel Museum, is adorned with various fascinating works from Nobel laureates.
Some of these are shown on video. One of the most popular features is a video recording of a speech that was given by Martin Luther King Junior.
The address is: Börshuset, Stortorget 2, Stockholm, and the opening hours are: Monday to Sunday 10am to 8pm in summer, and Tuesday 11am to 8pm, and Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm in winter.
Theatre of Death
This very unusual theatre displays the elaborate funerals and artifacts of members of the Royal family from the 1500s to the 1900s.
The address is: The Royal Armoury, Slottsbacken 3, Stockholm, and the opening hours are: July to August 10am to 6pm; September to December Tuesday –to Sunday 11am to 5pm, and Thursday 11am to 8pm.
How to Get to the Old Town
Where ever you may be staying in Stockholm, it's easy to get to the Old Town on public transport, by bus as well as subway.
The Gamla Stan station is on the green and red lines of the subway system.
Enjoy all the wonderful things the Old Town offers!