Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stockholm Reveals 700 Year Old Secrets

Seriously, I love this sort of history thing. Stockholm is really old. Everyone already knew that. In fact it was founded around the 1200s. Considering the United States as we know it today didn’t really start until the 1700s that’s pretty impressive. So when historians and archaeologists suddenly dig up buildings from the 14th century in the middle of town, I’m impressed.

And that’s exactly what happened. Buildings from the 14th century have been found right outside of the Castle in Stockholm. The cool thing about this is that Gamla Stan in Stockholm is already really old, like 1300s old. A lot of these buildings are still in use. Suddenly, a bunch of buildings that were really close to the castle have been discovered abandoned (obviously) and buried under hundreds of years of life, and culture, and history, and time.

Why? What happened? Why were they so close to the castle to begin with? Why did people bail from them? Why did some buildings from that time period survive and others crumbled into decay? So many questions to ask.

Amazing. I’ve walked around that area plenty of times since I made the move here to Sweden. I’ve even made comments about all the secret passageways that must be around there. I mean come on, it’s a medieval castle. Well, no secret tunnels, but buildings at least. And that’s pretty cool too. History is everywhere, sometimes right underneath us. So go out to Gamla Stan, check out the 14th century buildings that are still being used, then see if you can get a glance at the 14th century buildings that didn’t make the cut. I might have to make my way out there in the next day or two and see if I can snag some pictures. Until then, it can be pretty fun to just let your historical imagination run wild.

I still can’t get over this sort of thing. I’m in a country that is so old that there are things in the middle of the capital that are nearly about 800 years old. And some of those 800 year old things are buildings that are still being used. I have a hard time imagining the house I grew up in in the US sticking around for that long. I have a hard time imagining any buildings sticking around for that long so when I find myself looking around here in Europe and realizing that I’m surrounded by streets and buildings that have seen hundreds of years of war, peace, murder, crime, love, life, and just plain history, I’m amazed. It’s something I hope I never get tired of. It’s something I hope I can always find. It’s something I love about Sweden.


  1. wow, you're a real history buff! i bet that as you walk along the streets of Gamla Stan, you must be wishing that the walls and cobblestones could talk and whisper to you what they've witnessed through time.

  2. I used to work in one of those old, old buildings in Gamla Stan. Close to the castle. Unfortunately I never found any secret passageways or anything going from that house though but wouldn't be surprised if there was one.

    Now living in a city where houses older than 20 years are being demolished for new, modern (read: glass and concrete) buildings makes me appreciate Sthlm more. Every streetcorner has it's own story. Here..there's nothing. Sad, but true.

  3. Theres just so much cool stuff in history and it's a shame when it gets ignored. Or torn down because newer is always better. When that happens theres no chance for history to be made.

  4. You may have answered the question yourself. Could the reason for tearing down those houses be that they were too close to the castle? There may have been plans to make the castle bigger, or it has been assumed to be a security risk. Just some human thoughts here...

  5. I did read the part about the possible security risk but I'm just not entirely convinced that that would do it. They obviously had been there for quite a while without any problems. I like your idea about possible expansion though.