Top Historic Sights in Vadstena, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Vadstena

Vadstena Castle

Vadstena Castle was originally built by King Gustav I in 1545 as a fortress to protect Stockholm from enemies from the south. The fortress consisted of three smaller stone buildings facing the lake, Vättern, three 31 meter wide ramparts, a courtyard, a moat and four circular cannons turrets. The original ramparts were torn down in the 19th century and the present ramparts were inaugurated in 1999. The stone buildings ...
Founded: 1545 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Vadstena Abbey

The Abbey of Our Lady and of St. Bridget, more commonly referred to as Vadstena Abbey, was the motherhouse of the Bridgettine Order. The abbey started on one of the farms donated to it by the king, but the town of Vadstena grew up around it. The abbey was founded in 1346 by Saint Bridget with the assistance of King Magnus IV of Sweden and his Queen Blanche of Namur, who made a will donating ten farms to the abbey founded ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Vadstena Museum

Vadstena City Museum displays the history of Vadstena from the Middle Ages to present. There is also a collection of famous Vadstena laces.
Founded: 1949 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Vadstena Town Hall

The Town Hall of Vadstena is Sweden's oldest, dating back to the early 15th century. It was first mentioned in 1417. There were two halls in the downstairs and the actual town hall in the upstairs. The tower was erected in the 1500s.
Founded: ca. 1417 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Bishop’s House

Bishop’s House was built originally in the 1390s for the residence of Linköping Bishop when he was visiting Vadstena. The present house dates from the 15th century by Bishop Henrik Tidemansson. In the interior you will find fragments of wall paintings preserved from the time it was built. Both Christian II of Denmark and King Gustav Vasa of Sweden have stayed in the house. It is open to the public for special e ...
Founded: 1390s | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Red Tower

Rödtornet (Red Tower) is the only remaining part of the medieval St. Peter's Church built in the 12th century. The tower was erected in 1464. The church was replaced with a school in 1828.
Founded: 1464 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Hospital Museum

Vadstena Hospital Museum covers the town's hospital tradition. The museum building is an old mental hospital built in 1757. The 16th century Mårten Skinnares House is situated next to the museum and open during guided tours of the museum.
Founded: 1757 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Herrestad Church

Herrestad Church is one of the oldest existing churches in Sweden. According the Radiocarbon dating of wooden parts the construction was started in 1112. Archaeologists have also found nearby an early Christian tomb from the 1000s. It is quite probable there has been a wooden church before the stone church was built. Herrestad church was made of limestone in early Romanesque style. The interior includes a medieval tripty ...
Founded: ca. 1112 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.