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

Carlos Villalobos (2 months ago)
Such a beautiful small town with unique history and colorful red buildings. And, there are places to eat which made this trip that much more enjoyable.
Erik B (5 months ago)
Hammelstadt is really a beautiful village with a lot of interesting old buildings. I liked the church the most, was actually not open but they were cleaning and the back door was open. The priest allowed us in. Wandering between the old houses was really nice, some of them are still occupied.
MONICA MARINONI (5 months ago)
Very pleasant and peculiar place. Must be visited. Good restaurants and shopping. Beautiful Church!
Thomas Güntensperger (7 months ago)
The Open House is a must see. Friendly folks there show and explain the inside of that house. Be sure to visit Gammelstad360.se for more information and impressive interactive 360-views of Gammelstad and its buildings.
Herbert Weidinger (7 months ago)
To be honest, I initially didn’t expect too much. If you take a walk through the town it’s nice but that’s about it (mostly felt like a village with a more than average concentration of red houses). But the guided tour made it an amazing experience. The concept of an only temporary inhabited church town with all it’s implications on the local society make this place absolute unique. It’s totally justified that this place became a world heritage site.
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On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.