Karlskrona is an outstanding example of a late-17th-century European planned naval city. The original plan and many of the buildings have survived intact, along with installations that illustrate its subsequent development up to the present day. The naval installations there has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Karlskrona was founded in 1680 was a major power in Northern Europe. Charles XI, the King of Sweden, issued a charter for the foundation of a new town on the islands of Wämö and Trossö, to be known as Karlskrona and to serve both as a port and as a naval base. The naval installations, beginning with a shipyard and storage facilities, were initially supervised by Erik Dahlbergh. The shipyard began with two building berths, two quays, two forges, and five warehouses; the first keel was laid down in December 1680 and the first ship launched the following year.
Karlskrona became a seat of government in 1683, the year in which Dahlbergh drew up the definitive plans for the town and its fortifications. By the time Gustav III took the throne by means of a coup d'état in 1772 it had become the third largest town in Sweden. The town has been damaged by fire, most severely in 1790. As a result, rebuilding of the destroyed buildings was carried out using stone and the original street layout was largely preserved.
The Second World War saw the modernization of some of the older fortifications and the installation of new facilities for defence against aerial attack. Since that time there has been a progressive diminution of activity in the naval area, although it still plays an active role in the Swedish defence system.
The plan of Karlskrona integrates strategic imperatives with the classical ideal. The Baroque layout with wide main streets radiating out from a central square lined with majestic public buildings is clearly discernible in the present-day town. It was planned by Erik Dahlbergh and Karl Magnus Stuart on the orders of the Lord High Admiral, Hans Wachtmeister.
The naval harbour is located to the south of the town, from which it was originally separated by an impressive enclosure wall, only small sections of which survive. To the south of the Parade Ground is Gamle Varvet (the Old Shipyard). This is made up of a number of fine buildings dating mainly from the late 18th century, commissioned by Frederic Henric af Chapman, Shipyard Admiral of Karlskrona from 1780 until his death in 1808 and many of them designed by this gifted master shipbuilder and architect. On the other side of Amiralitetsslätten is Artillerigärden (Artillery Yard), an area of reclaimed land housing barracks, ordnance storehouses, workshops, and a hospital. The point of land on which they were built is protected by the Aurora Bastion, dating from 1704.References:
The Peace Palace (Vredespaleis) is an administrative building and often called the seat of international law because it houses the International Court of Justice (which is the principal judicial body of the United Nations), the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the extensive Peace Palace Library. In addition to hosting these institutions, the Palace is also a regular venue for special events in international policy and law. The Palace officially opened on 28 August 1913, and was originally built to provide a symbolic home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a court created to end war which was created by treaty at the 1899 Hague Peace Conference.