Lost in Gamla Stan

João Figueiredo

Värnamo, Sweden

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Artist's Description

Gamla Stan (Swedish for The Old Town) is the old town of Stockholm. Gamla Stan consists primarily of the island Stadsholmen. The surrounding islets Riddarholmen, Helgeandsholmen, and Strömsborg may also be included in some more wider definitions. The word “stan” is simply a contraction of the word “staden”, meaning “the town/city”.

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.

The name Stockholm originally referred to Gamla Stan only, but as the city expanded, the name now also refers several suburban areas and the metro region. The name Stockholm means “log island” in old Swedish. The previous capital of Sweden was located in Sigtuna. A thousand years ago Sigtuna had problems with armed gangs attacking the city. The situation became untenable and there was a need to find a new location for the capital city of Sweden. According to legend the leaders in Sigtuna then took a log of wood, cut out all the wood inside, filled it with gold, and let it float on the water. The log was floating on the water for several days and eventually hit land on the island where Gamla Stan today is located. The island was named Stockholm or log island, meaning the place where the log had hit ground. This is where they decided to found the new capital of Sweden. The island of Stockholm had the advantage that it was an island, easy to defend from armed gangs that could be thought to want to attack the city. It also had the advantage from a trade point of view, that it was situated just at the inlet of Lake Mälaren, a big lake very important to contemporary trade, from the Baltic.

A sculpture symbolizing the old log is today found at Stadshuset, the Stockholm City Hall.

Stockholm – Sweden


Canon EOS 550D + 50mm lens + CPL filter
Panorama made with 2 HDR shots each one made with 3 exposures

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