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History, Heritage: The Architectural Attractions in Sweden

History, Heritage: The Architectural Attractions in Sweden

Sweden and particularly its capital Stockholm is known for its varied and stunning architectural landmarks. These buildings and structures dating as far back as 16th century provide a grand look to the Swedish skyline. A visit to these monuments will provide any tourist with sights to behold, and all history enthusiasts with a lot to explore. Some of the major architectural sites worth visiting include:

Stockholm Palace

Stockholm Palace

Located on Stadsholmen in the Old Town in Stockholm, the construction of this Royal Palace took place from 1697 to 1760. It also serves as the official residence of the Swedish Monarchy. Riksdag building and Stockholm Cathedral lie nearby. The oldest constructions at this site date back to 13th century. In 16th century it was renovated keeping the Renaissance style in mind. The current structures were built during 1690s and have heavy baroque influences. With 1430 rooms, it is one of the largest Royal Palaces in the world. Some of the most important and beautiful parts of the palace’s interiors include The Treasure Chamber (stores the Swedish Crown Jewels), White Sea (The State Ball Room), Lynx Yard ( a small and stunning garden between two wings). The palace Church within the palace dates back to 1740s. Sculpture of lions which are inspired by the Medici lions, stand on the northern side. This also gives the area its name, Lion’s Slope. There are two museums within the palace, Museum of antiques which contains ancient Italian structures, and Tre Kronor Museum located in the oldest rooms in the Palace. It is a grand and stunning site.

Stockholm City Hall

Stockholm City Hall

Stadshuset, as it is locally called, was finished in 1923. It stands facing the islands of Riddarholmen and Sodermalm. Today it is used as the Municipal Council for the City of Stockholm. This Hall also functions as the venue for the Nobel Prize Banquet. As the bricks used in its construction were generally used in monasteries and churches, they were called monk’s bricks. Some 8 million of these red monk’s bricks were used for the Hall’s construction. Its architectural style makes it a popular tourist attraction as it includes both North European brick construction as well as the elements of Venetian architecture. Stadshuset has a spacious layout, with a piazza called Borgargarden on the east and Blue Hall on the west. Blue Hall is the dining Hall used for the banquet held after annual Nobel Prize Ceremony. The Blue Hall was originally intended to have blue decorations, but though the architect’s plans and designs changed, the name was retained.

Golden Hall

Golden Hall lies above the Blue Hall. 18 million tiles are used in this Hall to create ornamental mosaic depicting Swedish history.  The structure is a visual delight for all the visitors.

Nordic Museum

Nordic Museum

Established in 1873, this museum showcases the cultural and ethnographic past of Sweden, dating as far back as 1520s. These collections depict both the peasant as well as the urban lifestyle in Sweden in the centuries gone by. The building is not based on Swedish models; rather it is influenced by Dutch Renaissance architectural style. The huge main hall, and the enormous sculpture of King Gustav Vasa, along with the collections displayed here, makes a visit to this Museum worthwhile.

Swedish Museum of Natural History

Built in 1916, and designed by Axel Anderberg, this building is located in Stockholm. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences founded this museum in 1819. The collections displayed here date back to 1739. It also houses the largest planetarium in Sweden, called Cosmonova. This is one place that is equally fascinating for the historically as well as the scientifically inclined.

German Church

german church sweden

Situated in the old town in Stockholm, the German Church is known as Tyska Kyrkan locally. It is dedicated to Saint Gertrude who is said to be the patron saint of travelers. The spire and the brick steeple of the church form an 86 m tall structure. Gargoyles depicting grotesque animal figures are also a part of church’s architecture; they are influenced mostly by the nuances of Gothic Revival. The northern and southern sides have statues of Saint Gertrude, Jesus and Moses. The interior of the church is done in Baroque style. The white vaults, the wine cellars, the painted windows, 10 m tall altar and the king’s gallery, the stunning carvings on the stairs that lead to the golden-green structure of king’s gallery, the painting on the ceiling, all make this church a structure replete with beauty, spirituality and history.

Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace

Built in 16th century, Drottningholm literally means the Queen’s islet. This palace was inspired by the Palace of Versailles and toady it serves as the Swedish Royal Family’s private residence. It is included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites owing to its beauty and its superbly maintained original features and styles. The interior of this palace is done in the French rococo style. Palace Church dates back to 1740s; the church has traditional and ancient tapestries, as well as a Cahman organ from 1730 that is still in use. Palace Theater is the opera house located at the palace. The summer opera festivals hosted here are quite popular. The palace gardens are well maintained and picturesque. They are a famous tourist attraction. The Baroque Garden dates back to the 17th century. The English Garden has a beautiful layout with ponds, bridges, and antique statues (such as that of Diana) interspersed among the lawns and flowers.

Stockholm (2)

Riddarholmen (or the Knight’s islet) which contains several Palaces, the Royal Burial Church, Old historical government buildings is also worth a visit. The views of Stockholm from this small island are magnificent. Royal Dramatic Theater or Dramaten built in 1908 is another spectacular building. It helps one trace down the fascinating history of Swedish theater and plays, in addition to its historical and architectural value.

Stockholm as Sweden’s capital is a major center of cultural and political interests and activities. This town is equally magnificent and photogenic owing to its specimens of architectural brilliance and beauty. These architectural specimens stand today as a reminder of Sweden’s glorious past, and provide the travelers with a chance to explore it for themselves.

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