Gamla Stan

Standing on the Riddarfjärden (Knight Fjord), where Lake Mälaren drains into the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is a city of water – and a city of islands, bridges and boats.

Its history began in the 13th century on an island called Stadsholmen, and the neighbouring smaller islands of Riddarholmen and Helgeandsholmen, and together these form the Gamla Stan ('old town'). This is linked to the northern part of the city, Norrmalm, and the southern part, Södermalm, by bridges.

Gamla Stan remains a charming historic town, with cobbled lanes and medieval alleyways – as well as cafés and restaurants, and shops selling crafts, antiques and souvenirs to cater for the large numbers of tourists. Gamla Stan also possesses some key historic sights, including two churches of note. The Storkyrkan ('Great Church') is Stockholm's cathedral, built originally in the 13th century, but remodelled in Baroque style in the 18th century. The greatest treasure of its warm, brick interior is the magnificent wooden sculpture of St George and the Dragon, which dates from about 1489. The Riddarholmskyrkan ('Church of Riddarholmen'), dating also from the 13th century, has a beautiful Gothic interior of stone, and contains the tombs of the Swedish royal family from Gustavus Adolphus (died 1632) on. This royal connection relates to the fact that the northern part of Gamla Stan is the site of the massive Royal Palace, the Kungliga Slottet.

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