Gammelstad Church Town

Luleå, Sweden

Gammelstad Church Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in Gammelstaden near the city of Luleå. It is the best preserved example of a type of town that was once widespread throughout northern Scandinavia. As Church Village of Gammelstad, Luleå, it was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1996. At its centre is an early 15th century stone church surrounded by 424 wood-built houses. The houses were only used on Sundays and during religious festivals to accommodate worshippers from the surrounding countryside who could not return home the same day because of the distance and difficult travelling conditions.

The church in Gammelstad is the biggest medieval church in Northern Sweden. It was built in the 15th century, and according to tradition it was inaugurated by Archbishop Jacob Ulfsson in 1492. The whitewashed bell tower was built in 1851.The interior is richly ornamented and furnished. The late-medieval frescoes in the chancel are by the School of Albertus Pictor. They were whitewashed over in the 18th century but restored in 1909. To the right of the altar there are medieval pews and a reconstructed bishop´s throne or cathedra. The triptych above the altar was built in Antwerp in around 1520 and cost 900 silver marks, and enormous sum which the farmers of Luleå are said to have paid in cash. The pulpit and memorial tablets were made by Nils Jacobsson Fluur at the beginning of the 18th century.

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Details

Founded: ca. 1492
Category:
Historical period: Kalmar Union (Sweden)

More Information

www.lulea.se
en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Miqdad Askari (5 months ago)
Very much beaitiful church from 15th century. Photos are not allowed inside but still people were taking it inside. A good place to visit if you like visiting historical places.
Kåre Agardh (6 months ago)
Charming place, can't imagine this was the former harbour.
Bohumír Stehlík (MyWay Productions) (6 months ago)
Interesting unesco place. They have a nice Steinway in the church.
Zdeněk Šrejber (6 months ago)
Very nice attraction, you find out something interesting there
Sabrina Gafert (10 months ago)
Definitely take a trip to gammelstad! The story behind it is fascinating and is told with love and enthusiasm by the locals. In winter it is quiet there and you can really enjoy the weather and the peace. Will definitely come again in the summer and look at the contrast between the seasons there!
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Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".