Destinations / The best capital cities in the world / Stockholm
Stockholm is the largest and the most charming Scandinavian city. Despite the fact that around 1.6 million people live in Stockholm, the city remains calm and even pastoral. Its centuries-old alleys and squares are scattered throughout the archipelago of 14 islands on which the city is built, that is why you can even fish in the center of it. Stockholm has a small center, but numerous museums, an abundance of restaurants, lots of parks, fairs, never ending nightlife and rich culture. You can also enjoy the pleasure of the summer white nights, when the sun does not go completely over the horizon, but it is located on the far northern latitudes.
Most tourists initially go to the Gamla Stan, which attracts them with its uniqueness. Here, over the cobbled narrow arches, closing the light, hang the old houses. The streets begin from the magnificent Royal Palace, where, starting from the XIII century, members of the royal family live. Despite its medieval heritage, Stockholm is not frozen in the ancient enclave. People from Stockholm are incredibly concerned about the environment, and they have something to take care of: we can say that a third of the city consists of water, one third - of green space, and another third - of the buildings, and of course amazingly clean air, perhaps the purest in the world. Breathing deep fresh air, get ready for a picnic and go with a ferry in the direction of one of the parks where you will certainly be the guest of a free concert, or go shopping.
Stockholm offers wonderful opportunities for cultural and leisure activities: the city is rich in more than 150 museums. There is an abundance of art and music festivals, the architecture of the buildings is admirable (including the City Hall, where the Nobel Prize banquet is usually held), and as an option of recreation you can visit the Opera, known throughout the world.
History of Stockholm
A fortified settlement was built in 1187 here. The very first buildings appeared on the Stadsholmen island, which is very conveniently located from the strategic point of view, being situated at the mouth of the strait that connects Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. Stockholm was mentioned for the first time as a city in 1252. By the end of the thirteenth century Stockholm began to expand to the north and to the south from the Gamla Stan based on a carefully thought-out plan. The trade with Danzig and Lübeck was rapidly developed, but when Stockholm joined the Hanseatic League, a lot of German merchants came, and once the Kalmar Union was created, Danes came here. In the fourteenth-fifteenth centuries the Germans represented twenty-five percent of the population of this city, and half of its council. Only after 1471 the Swedes regained the top position in the management of Stockholm. After the city was freed from Danish rule in 1523, it had actively developed as a national economic and political center of the country.
Officially Stockholm became the capital of Sweden in 1634, and no other city has ever been able to contest the championship. The Russian colony of merchants appeared in Stockholm in the early seventeenth century. This happened after Sweden once again won the war with Russia and under the peace treaty signed in 1617, Russia lost East Karelia, Ingria, losing access to the Baltic Sea. The Russian merchants were entitled to have in Stockholm, as well as in other cities under the sea, trade courts, they could build houses and temples. The city grew rapidly, but its wooden buildings were burned many times, and in 1697 even the king’s palace burned down. In the early eighteenth century the outbreak of Plague killed one third of the population of Stockholm. It was troubled in Stockholm in 1848, when the revolution broke out in Europe.
In the 60 years of the nineteenth century as a result of the construction of the railway Stockholm contacted the Swedish inland areas and developed its industry, and partially reorganized. In 1862, the magistrate had been destroyed; as a result the central municipal management was used. It connected all parts of Stockholm. The capital of the country declared neutrality since 1814, it repeatedly became the venue for international meetings and various forums and conferences. In 1912, the Olympic Games were held in Stockholm. Stockholm is the cultural capital of Europe since 1998.
Gamla Stan is one of the largest and the best preserved medieval city centers in Europe - one of the most interesting sights of the Swedish capital. Stockholm was founded here in 1252. The entire Gamla Stan and the adjacent island of Riddarholmen is a real living museum. These winding, narrow cobblestone streets are filled with overflowing attractions, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops of artisans, antique and souvenir shops. Medieval houses, colored mainly in different shades of gold, create the unique character of Gamla Stan. In winter, Gamla Stan looks like a place from a fairy tale. There are several impressive temples and museums, as the National Cathedral and the Nobel Museum, in Gamla Stan.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace from Stockholm is one of the largest palaces in Europe. It is the official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden and it has more than 600 rooms. The palace, covering five museums, is opened to the public. Its main part was built in the XVIII century in Italian Baroque style on the place of the old castle "Tre Kronor" which burned down in 1697. You can visit the museum of antique sculptures of King Gustav III, the «Tre Kronor» Museum and the Royal treasury. The Armory, which stores the royal clothes and weapons is also located here. Along the main streets of the district - Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan – there was the fortification of the city. Visiting the Royal Palace do not miss the daily changing of the guard. Very often it involves a military band.
The Stortoget Area
The Stortorget area lies in the center of Gamla Stan, being considered the heart of the district. It originates from the street Köpmangatan, the oldest in Stockholm being mentioned in the annals of XIV century. To find the alley Mårten Trotzigs will be hard but interesting. This is the narrowest allay in Gamla Stan. Do not forget to visit the island Riddarholmen , where the church Riddarholmen stands. Almost all the Swedish kings lie in the secularized church, and it was founded in the XIII century as part of the monastery of the Franciscan Order.
The City Hall
City Hall, with three golden crowns on the steeple bell tower, is the most famous silhouette of Stockholm and one of the most outstanding examples of architecture of the national romanticism. The City Hall was designed by Ragnar Estberga and was opened on the summer solstice in 1923. 8 million bricks were used to build the city hall and a tower of 106 meters high topped with the national emblem of Sweden: three crowns. There are offices of the city services, meeting rooms of city politicians and clerks, as well as practical, banquet rooms and a unique collection of art behind the magnificent facades. The members of the Stockholm municipality meet in the Council Chamber. The famous Nobel banquet is held in the City Hall. After lunch in the Blue Hall, Nobel laureates, members of the royal court and the guests are dancing in the Golden Hall, which is decorated with a gilded panel of 18 million pieces of pottery.
Kaknas is the tallest tower in Scandinavia and in Northern Europe. It is situated on Laugorde, near Djurgården, and it was built in 1967. The tower's height is of 155 meters. You can look around the panorama of the capital being on the 30th floor, that is, from a height of 128 meters. After sightseeing you can eat well, visiting the restaurant, located eight floors below.
The Water Museum "Aquaria"
The water museum introduces you to the inhabitants of the seven seas, the tropical jungle and the Scandinavian lakes. This is where you can observe the life of sharks, see how to hunt small Archer fish, learn interesting facts about the cartoon character Nemo "prototype" - Fish-clown, try to pass the bridge over the water, swarming piranhas. Visiting the Nordic Seas exhibition, you'll see trout, sailing into the museum to spawn, leaps straight from the sea in the aquarium as the fish are leaving the place where they go and the reason for their return trip. You can watch a fascinating film about the life of the fish, feed the sharks and buy souvenirs here.
The Vasa Museum
The Vasa is the world's only surviving ship of the XVII century - now a unique treasure. The ship survived more than 95% and it is richly decorated with hundreds of carved figures. The Vasa warship sunk in the day of its maiden voyage in Stockholm in August 1628 and was raised in 1961 - after 333 years of stay on the seabed. For nearly half a century, the ship gradually, with great caution, was carefully restored to almost original condition. Three masts, towering above the roof of a specially constructed dock, show the height of the original mast ship. The Vasa Museum today is the most visited museum in Scandinavia. More than a million of visitors come here every year. The old ship is surrounded by nine different exhibits that tell about the life on the Vasa. The film about Vasa is shown in sixteen languages. In addition, the museum has an interesting gift shop and a cozy restaurant. The museum is open daily.
Museum of Modern Art
Evaluate one of the most interesting collections in Europe, Contemporary Art, which covers the period from the 1900s to the present day. It presents, in particular, works by Picasso, Dali, Derkerta, Matisse. The museum presents contemporary art, permanent collections and temporary exhibitions along with the classics of the XX century. The Museum of Contemporary Art is located on the beautiful Skeppsholmen Island. The building itself was designed by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. The excellent program of temporary exhibitions, a children’s shop, a gift shop, a nice restaurant with breathtaking views of the Strandvägen and Djurgården waterfronts - this is the Museum of Modern Art.
The National Museum
National Museum is the leading museum of art and design in Sweden, with rich collections of medieval paintings and sculptures, as well as drawings, graphics, a collection of applied art and design. Feel the spirit of Sweden in the works of famous artists, Carl Larsson, Hanna Pauli, Anders Zorn and Bruno Lileforca. See the work of the world famous masters of the brush: Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas and many others. Meet the modern Swedish classics design from the 1900s to the modern era in the permanent exhibition "The modern form of 1900-2000." The exhibition tells about the development of trends in Scandinavian art and industrial design.
Den Frieden Gyuldene
The restaurant occupies the basement of one of the medieval old town houses, buildings owned by the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize for Literature. Den Frieden Gyuldene is very popular among the members of the Academy. It is said that the fate of many writers who have received Nobel had been solved here. The menu consists of classic dishes of Swedish cuisine.
Solliden restaurant is located in the open-air museum Skansen. You can admire the spectacular panoramic view of Stockholm from here. The restaurant is open only during the warmer months, as well as in December. You can enjoy traditional Swedish cuisine dishes here.
A restaurant with Carl Michael traditional Swedish cuisine in a contemporary design is situated near the amusement park Gröna Lund. The seasonal menus offer dishes in a rustic style that can surprise any visitor.
The Restaurant 1900 offers a new interpretation of traditional Swedish cuisine dishes, prepared under the influence of national cuisines of other countries. Despite the fact that the restaurant is located in the heart of Stockholm, you can experience the atmosphere of true rustic tavern here. This restaurant is well known by the imaginatively designed and stunningly delicious cockta
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