Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Stockholm is the Sweden’s capital and largest city, comprising of an old city and a new one. Dubbed the “Venice of the North", due to the archipelago or cluster of islands that make up a unique Stockholm.

I became interested in Sweden after learning a bit of its history. This history lesson starts of with Napoleon Bonaparte, who was at one time engaged to Désirée Clary, who later met and married the French general Marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte.

As Napoleon I of France was Emperor of the French, and ruled, directly or indirectly, over much of Continental Europe through a network of client kingdoms headed by his brothers (see Napoleonic Empire), the Swedish parliament saw it practical to elect a king whom Napoleon could accept. On August 21, 1810, the Riksdag elected Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of France, as heir apparent to the Swedish throne.

In 1813 a French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte (in the Napoleonic wars) was adopted by the Sweden King Gustav. The Royal House of Bernadotte is today still the current royal house in Sweden.

Okay, back to tips on visiting Sweden.

If you are visiting Stockholm, you must visit Stockholm’s old city - Gamla Stan which means “old town”,. The old city dates back to the 13th Century is charming with its narrow alleyways and cobbled streets, and archaic buildings, making Gamla Stan a very interesting place to explore. Take the time to visit the Royal Palace and watch the changing of the guards.

If you are interested in ships, one of the places you must visit is the Vasa Museum, which has a display of the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged. The 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. Read the history of The Vasa here.

I found Stockholm to be a very nice city to visit. You don’t need to join a tour to get there, but it is advisable to join their local tours, and maybe a bit of island hopping. If you are interested in visiting Stockholm, here is a useful website.

On our way through Sweden, we stopped at Uppsala Cathedral, which dates back to the late 13th century and at a height of 118.7m it is the largest church building in Scandinavia.

5km north of Uppsala lies Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala), a medieval village of Uppsala with three huge burial mounds of pre-Christian monarchs and a 12th-century church.

Our next stop was Falun, a city in Dalarna, central Sweden. Falun is known for its old mine, known as the Great Copper Mountain, and its surroundings, which were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The most common souvenir from Falun and the Dalarna province is the Dala Horse, a symbol of Sweden. This small wooden horse has been carved since the 17th century.

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