Top historic sites in Stockholm

Storkyrkan

Storkyrkan (Great Church, Stockholm Cathedral), officially Church of St. Nicholas, is the oldest church in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm. It was first mentioned in 1279 and according to tradition was originally built by Birger Jarl, the founder of the city itself. For nearly four hundred years it was the only parish church in the city, the other churches of comparible antiquity originally built to serve th ...
Founded: 1279 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan, The Old Town, consists primarily of the island Stadsholmen. The town dates back to the 13th century, and consists of medieval alleyways, cobbled streets, and archaic architecture. North German architecture has had a strong influence in the Old Town's construction. Gamla Stan is one of the best preserved old towns in Northern Europe. The center of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, the scenic large square, which is sur ...
Founded: | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Royal Palace

The Stockholm Palace (Kungliga Slottet) is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. The offices of the monarch and the other members of the Swedish Royal Family as well as the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are located there. The palace is used for representative purposes by the King whilst performing his duties as the head of state. The first building on this site was a fortress with a ...
Founded: 17th - 18th century | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

German Church

The German Church, or the Church of Saint Gertrude, was founded in 1571. it started as a Guild Lounge for german merchantmen in Stockholm who where a large part of the population in the 16th century. Hans Jakob Kristler enlarged the chapel in 1638-1642 to the present two-nave church. During the 17th century, while the choir of the school participated at the royal concerts, the church became an important centre for church ...
Founded: 1571 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) is a maritime museum displaying 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. Opened in 1990, the Vasa Museum is one of the most visited museums in Scandinavia. The main hall contains the ship itself and various exhibits related to the archaeological findings of the ships and early 17th century Swede ...
Founded: 1990 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm City Museum

The Stockholm City Museum documents and exhibits the history of Stockholm. It was opened to the public in 1942 and located in the palace completed in 1685. The museum is the largest municipal museum in Sweden, and houses collections which include 300,000 items of historical interest; 20,000 works of art and 3 million photographs. The museum has two permanent exhibitions, one called "The Stockholm Exhibition - Based on a ...
Founded: 1942 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

House of Nobility

The House of Nobility (Riddarhuset, “the House of Knights”) was built in 1641-1672 as a chamber of Estates of the Realm, and as such, a Swedish equivalent to the British House of Lords. After 1866, when the Riksdag of the Estates was replaced by the new parliament, the Swedish House of Nobility served as a quasi-official representation of the Swedish nobility, regulated by the Swedish government. Since 2003, i ...
Founded: 1641-1672 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Skansen Open Air Museum

Skansen is the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden. It was founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901) to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden before the industrial era. Skansen attracts more than 1.3 million visitors each year. The many exhibits over the 75 acre (300,000 m²) site include a full replica of an average 19th-century town, in which craftsmen in traditional dress such as tanners, sh ...
Founded: 1891 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Riddarholmen Church

The Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) is the burial church of the Swedish monarchs. The congregation was dissolved in 1807 and today the church is used only for burial and commemorative purposes. Swedish monarchs from Gustavus Adolphus (d. 1632 AD) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are entombed here (with exceptions such as Queen Christina who is buried within St. Peter's Basilica in Rome), as well as the earlier monarchs Magnu ...
Founded: ca. 1270-1300 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Drottningholm Palace

The Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It was originally built in the late 16th century. It served as a residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mainly because of its Theatre (an opera house located at the ...
Founded: 1662 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Swedish Army Museum

The Swedish Army Museum, was awarded the title of the best museum of Stockholm in 2005. Its displays illustrate the military history of Sweden, including its modern policy of neutrality, and of the Swedish Army. The building was erected in the 17th century as an arsenal for the production and storage of artillery weapons. The exhibition includes life-size figures of soldiers of past centuries, as well as scenes of the gr ...
Founded: 2002 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

National Historical Museum

The National Historical Museum (Historiska muséet) covers Swedish cultural history and art from the Stone Age to the 16th century. The museum is known for its so called "Gold Room" (Guldrummet) by the architect Leif Blomberg, where a large number of gold objects are kept as part of the exhibition. The museum hosts also the largest Viking exhibition, with more than 4,000 original artifacts.
Founded: | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Waldemarsudde Palace

Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde is a museum located on Djurgården in central Stockholm. It was the former home of the Swedish Prince Eugen, who discovered the place in 1892, when he rented a house there for a few days. Seven years later he bought the premises and had a new house designed by the architect Ferdinand Boberg, who also designed Rosenbad (the Prime Minister"s Office and the Government Chancellery), and erecte ...
Founded: 1903 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Ulriksdal Palace

Ulriksdal Palace is a royal palace situated on the banks of the Edsviken in the National City Park. It was originally called Jakobsdal after its owner Jacob De la Gardie, who had it built by architect Hans Jacob Kristler in 1643-1645 as a country retreat. He later passed on to his son, Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie, from whom it was purchased in 1669 by Queen Hedvig Eleonora. The present design is mainly the work of archite ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Skogskyrkogården

Skogskyrkogården (“The Woodland Cemetery”) is a cemetery founded in 1917. Its design reflects the development of architecture from national romantic style to mature functionalism. Skogskyrkogården came about following an international competition in 1915 for the design of a new cemetery in Enskede. The design of the young architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz was selected. Work began in 19 ...
Founded: 1917 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Rosendal Palace

Rosendal Palace (Rosendals slott) is a Swedish royal pavilion located at the Djurgården, an island in central Stockholm. It was built between 1823 and 1827 for King Karl XIV Johan, the first Bernadotte King of Sweden. It was intended as an escape from the formalities of court life at the Royal Palace. Rosendal Palace was largely designed by Fredrik Blom, one of the leading architects of the time, who received a roy ...
Founded: 1823-1827 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Karlberg Palace

Karlberg Palace houses today the Military Academy Karlberg. The three local farms were bought by Lord High Admiral Carl Carlsson Gyllenhielm (1574-1650) in the 1620s and subsequently unified into a single estate named 'Karlberg' after himself. He then had master mason Hans Drisell build a Renaissance palace featuring pink plaster and tall gables. As Gyllenhielm"s widow died six years after her husband, a l ...
Founded: 1634-1795 | Location: Solna, 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.