The Museum of Medieval Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden

The Museum of Medieval Stockholm was constructed around old monuments excavated in an extensive archaeological dig in the late 1970s. Part of Stockholm's city wall, dating from the early 16th century, was also found. The museum enables visitors to experience medieval Stockholm, with its brick houses and booths, workshops, harbour and gallows. It relates the medieval history of the city from the 1250s to the 1520s. In 2010, to celebrate 800 years since the birth of Birger Jarl, the founder of Stockholm, the museum opened an exhibition with a reconstruction of his face.

The Museum of Medieval Stockholm produces theme exhibitions with a medieval emphasis and arranges lectures, symposia and programmes. It engages in broad educational activities, in which children, youth and schools are a key target group. The museum has a shop that sells books relating to the Middle Ages, and also postcards and jewelry.

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Category: Museums in Sweden

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Olga P (5 months ago)
Very nice museum although a bit small. It has a lot of children and I think for them it is a bit more interesting. Basically shows how gamla Stan was in the medieval times, if you want to learn about that time in more detail visit the Swedish history museum which is also free! For being free it's worth a visit.
Elena K (5 months ago)
We went there only because it was our second visit to Stockholm and everything we wanted was already seen, and free entrance of course :))) But with audio guide it was interesting and informative. Very nice and helpful staff.
Per Nyhlin (6 months ago)
There is no admission fee for visitors to the Stockholm Medieval Museum . Located between the Royal Castle and House of Parliament this museum might be an interesting stop. Perfect for visitors in the age 3-103Y old/young. My kids loved the place. PLEASE NOTE: You must take the stairs (or elevator) down to the waterfront when you are standing on the bridge. The museum is actually located UNDER the bridge. The museum is fairly small, but packed with interesting information connected to Stockholm's history. Inside the museum you will find both mini models and full scale models of the old settlement, buildings, ships, armory, knights etc etc. There is also a workshop area for the kids, where they can sit down and paint, draw or build their own models of dragons etc. At the entrance you will find the museum shop with souvenirs, books etc. The restrooms are very clean and you can store away your belongings in lockers during the stay. Guided tours (30 minutes) are offered and audio equipment can be borrowed if you prefers to walk the museum in your own pace.
Litta S (6 months ago)
To begin with, it’s free to visit this place. It wasn’t easy to locate it at first through google maps but we managed by asking somebody. There were friendly staff to greet us. The place is maintained well, authentic atmosphere and true to its purpose of displaying its rich history. Highly recommended.
Keith Hanlan (7 months ago)
This is a a great small museum which does a fabulous job describing the medieval origins of Stockholm. It is free and well worth a couple hours of your time. Note that it is easily missed as the entrance is down a flight of stairs on the bridge opposite the north side of palace. The small sunken park and pond here is generally a quiet place to rest and have a bag lunch.
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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.

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