Top Historic Sights in Gothenburg, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Gothenburg

Christina Church

The Christina church (or German Church) was consecrated in 1648 and named after Queen Christina. The octagonal chapel for Rutger von Aschenberg was built in 1681, possibly by Erik Dahlberg. The tower, designed by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz 1780, rises powerfully over the lower urban buildings around it. It became an important symbol of the great German Assembly which included the Dutch who over a period in the 1600s represen ...
Founded: 1648 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg Museum of Art

The Göteborg Museum of Art at Götaplatsen, Gothenburg, is renowned for its collection of Nordic art from around the close of the 19th century. A must see is the lavishly decorated Fürstenberg Gallery, named after a leading Gothenburg art donor, Pontus Fürstenberg and his wife Göthilda. Among the artists showcased one can mention Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, and P.S. Kröyer. The museum also hou ...
Founded: 1923 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Vasa Church

Opened in 1909, Vasa Church is a monumental building in the new romantic style with decorative detail in the Jugendstil. The church is built of granite from the nearby Bohus county and was designed by Yngve Rasmussen. The interior is dominated by a huge mural painting in the chancel portraying the ascension of Christ. It was painted by Albert Eldh in the 1920s. The other end of the church is dominated by the original o ...
Founded: 1909 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Kronhuset

The old Kronhuset (the Crown House) behind the Gustav Adolf Square is one of the oldest buildings in Gothenburg. It was built in 1642-1654 as a storehouse for military uniforms and other military equipment. Now it is a living craft center in historic buildings. Around Kronhuset is Kronhusbodarna (the Crown House Sheds).The west wing served as carriage storage and warehouse, and was built around 1750 after the previous wo ...
Founded: 1642-1654 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Medical History Museum

History of health and medical care is exhibited in a 200-year-old former hospital. The museum is located in the Oterdahl building, donated by wholesaler Aron Oterdahl in 1808 to Sahlgren hospital as a gift “for time eternal”. The exhibition is set up based on various, still current, themes and presents a history of the development of western medicine from antiquity to our times.
Founded: 1808 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg Cathedral

Gothenburg Cathedral (Gustavi domkyrka or Göteborgs domkyrka) lies near the heart of the city. The cathedral was built in 1815 and replaced an earlier cathedral built in the 17th century. The architect was Carl Willhelm Carlberg. The cathedral is a fine example of neoclassical architecture. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the city. The Cathedral acts as a venue for a wide range of classical concerts an ...
Founded: 1815 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

East India Company House

The old East India Company House (now the City Museum) was once the hub of Sweden's trade with the Far East. Most seafaring nations in the 18th century had an East India company which held a monopoly on trade with the East. Scottish merchants were not part of the lucrative dealings of the English, so Scot Colin Campbell, in association with Niclas Sahlgren in Gothenburg, devised an idea for a Swedish East India Company, w ...
Founded: 1750-1762 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Härlanda Church Ruins

Härlanda Church Ruins are the remains of a medieval church in Gothenburg, Sweden close to the picturesque housing area Bagaregården. The church was built in the first part of the 12th century and torn down in 1528 by request from Gustavus I, King of Sweden to build a new church in Nya Lödöse, the precursor of Gothenburg which was founded in 1621.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Haga Church

The construction Haga Church (Hagakyrkan) began in 1856 and it was finished in 1859. The church and the pulpit were designed by architect Adolf W. Edelsvärd. The church represents the Gothic revival architecture style. The first organ was installed in 1861 by the Danish firm Marcussen & Søn for the price of 20 000 Swedish crowns. It was rebuilt in 1911 (pneumatic action) and 1945-1951 (electric action) by ...
Founded: 1856-1859 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Skansen Kronan

Skansen Kronan is a redoubt built in the later half of the 17th century according to the plans of Erik Dahlberg. Skansen Kronan was introduced in 1698 and was fitted with 23 guns. The roof was not completed until 1700. Skansen has 4-5 metre thick walls made of granite, gneiss and diabase. Skansen Kronan was never attacked and the cannons on the inside have never been used. The fortress and the twin counterpart, Skansen L ...
Founded: 1698 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Masthugget Church

Masthugget Church was built in 1914. Its position on a high hill (Masthugget) close to the city and near the Göta älv (Göta river) makes it a striking sight – the church tower is 60 meters high in itself. The church represents the national romantic style in Nordic architecture and was drawn by Sigfrid Ericson. The church, which has become one of the symbols of Gothenburg, is a popular tourist attrac ...
Founded: 1914 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Oscar Fredrik Church

Oscar Fredrik Church was drawn by Helgo Zetterwall and completed in 1893. It represents the neo-Gothic style, but the influence is not the Nordic gothic style but rather the style one can find in the large cathedrals down in continental Europe. The church and the parish got its name from king Oscar II (Oscar Fredrik being his full name). The church has been refurbished three times: 1915, 1940 and 1974. The 1940 refurbish ...
Founded: 1893 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Klippan

Klippan is located just below Älvsborgs bridge. The area of Klippan was a precursor to the community that would later become the city of Gothenburg. There used to be salting-houses, glassworks and foundries here during the 18th century. The Scottish Carnegie family owned sugar refineries and breweries in the area later on. Today, Klippan is a cultural heritage centre. You will also find a café, hotel and res ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Karl Johan Church

The church of Karl Johan was built between 1824-1826 according the design of Fredrik Blom. It has been restored in 1840, 1900, 1912 and 1938. The organs were added in 1863. The wall paintings have been made by Albert Eldh.
Founded: 1824-1826 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Älvsborg Castle

Älvsborg, also Elfsborg Fortress, is a sea fortress situated on the mouth of the Göta Älv river. It served to protect Sweden's access to the Atlantic Ocean and the nearby settlement of today's Gothenburg and its four predecessors. The fortress was relocated in the 17th century, this New Älvsborg Fortress is still maintained. Of the Old Älvsborg Fortress, only few ruins are visible today in the vicinity of the Carnegi ...
Founded: 1621 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Lundby Old Church

The Lundby Old Church is one of the seven preserved medieval churches in Gothenburg, and the only one of them representing Gothic architecture. The church was probably build in the late 14th century. Its Romanesque baptismal font, however, comes from an older wooden church that had existed in the same place and whose remains were not discovered until the early 20th century. Since the mid-17th century, when the bell tower ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.