I'll start my story about Örebro castle with a short version of its history.
The building of castles in Sweden started with the strengthening of the king's power in the second part of the 13th century. Fortresses were built in the most important towns or (as is the case for Örebro) strategic points on important routes. The first time the fortress of Örebro was mentioned was in May 1364. Örebro has known quite a history, and has been besieged three times, in 1434, 1501 and 1521, but every time it withstood the assault. The strength of the fortification at Örebro lay in the combination of the thick high walls, plentiful water supply and impressive armaments.
In the last decade of the 16th century, the town and the castle had a golden period of growth. This was due to Duke Karl, who later became King Karl IX. Duke Karl turned the fortifications into a castle.
The present castle is the result of a comprehensive restoration from 1897-1900. The castle was 'upgraded' to give it 'a grander appearance, worthy of its rich past'.
I've visited Örebro in the middle of August to do some shopping, but I also took the time to visit some tourist spots while I was there. All in all it was a great day!
Örebro has 125,000 inhabitants, which makes it the seventh largest town in Sweden. It is also a university city, which gives it a bit of a lively feel to it and a nice atmosphere. Örebro is located about 200 km from Stockholm and 300 km to both Gothenburg and Oslo.
Örebro has some interesting tourist attractions and the most famous is the castle, which dates back to the 13th century. The other one that I want to write about on this page is Wadköping, the old town.
The most curious water tower I've ever seen. The water tower was built in 1958 and derived its name "Svampen" from its mushroom-like shape. It was built by the architect Sune Lindström. Did you know that a copy of the Svampen can be found in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh?
Örebro Castle is located on the river Svartån. It was originally built as a fortress in the 13th century but only the defence tower is left from this time. The other parts were added or rebuilt betwen 14th and 16th centuries.
Today the castle houses a museum, the tourist office, a conference centre and a restaurant.
Entrance fee: 45 SEK (5.00 EURO)
This is one of the little shops in Wadköping. The smell is great when you enter this little shop. They sell fresh tea, in all sorts and flavours. Herbs, spices and jams, and all things I have forgotten. But everything sounded and looked just as good. I really nice shop to have a look around in and behave yourself not to buy all the delicious things they sell here :-)
This was the last photo I want to post about Örebro for now. I hope you enjoyed reading my page about the castle and the open air museum of Wadköping. If you decide to go to Örebro at least reserve half a day to browse around these two places. And let me know if you enjoyed it!
Another must see house in Wadköping is the Kungsstugan. This is originally a farm on Järntorget. The name of the farm has its origin in the fact that Duke Carl, later King Carl IX stayed there on visits to Örebro. (Kung=King, Stugan = cottage). The Kungsstugan is one of Sweden's most interesting buildings because of the mural paintings from the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Although not many, I did see some people in tradition costumes. This lady was a bit shy at first when I wanted to take her picture, but after the first hesitation she smiled and didn't mind me doing so. You might see her when you visit Wadköping, she is the lady that sells the second hand books on one of the little squares.
I already showed you quite a few photos of Wadköping, but lets walk back again to the entrance. This old phone booth is close to the entrance of Wadköping. I have no clue though if it still works, but I thought it just looked lovely and had to take a picture of it.
There is more to Wadköping than only the outside of the old buildings. There are many little houses that you can visit. There are craftsmen at work, but also exhibitions like this old classroom. Hahaha, I almost felt like a little kid again walking in here ;-)
The name "Wadköping" was given to this "new" part of the city because of the author Hjalmar Bergman. Hjalmar Bergman is one of the greatest Swedish authors. He was born and raised in Örebro, and a great part of his writing are from experiences in his childhood and youth. Wadköping was the name the author gave to his childhood surroundings, the townships of Örebro and Västerås. And that's how they came up with the name for "Wadköping".
When you are in Örebro you have to go to Wadköping. It's a great place to discover. It's called the open air museum, and it sometimes also called the 'old village'. I think these names may give the impression of a boring area with 'just' lots of old buildings. But Wadköping is so much more than that. This 'open air museum' is not just a museum, it's actually part of the city. It feels alive and is very picturesque.
During the period from May to August there are many kinds of arrangements: musical entertainment each Wednesday and Saturday, theatres and exhibitions of artistic handicraft etc.
Totally surprising to me is the entrance fee to Wadköping.... it's for free! You'll notice this more often when you are in Sweden that some sites have free entrance. Hahaha, I am totally not used to that, every crazy little thing you would like to see mostly has an entrance fee. But not so in Sweden!
One of the most well known houses in Wadköping is Cajsa Wargs Hus. This house is from the late 1600's and previously stood as Kyrkogatan 4, but was moved in 1910. Around 1800 it was owned by the County Treasurer, Anders Warg, father to the cookery book authoress Cajsa Warg.
One thing I love about this house is the grass covered roof. This is a feature you can spot so now and then when you travel through Sweden. I think it makes the houses look so picturesque.
If you don't want to take the guided tour, but do want to learn a little about the castles history, you should visit the exhibition. It is a bit hidden away, so you might not notice it, if you don't know where to go. So here is a little tip of how to find it : when you are in front of the main entrance of the castle, walk around it to the right side. A small path besides around the castle tower, alongside the moat brings you to the entrance of the exhibition.
Opening times of the exhibition :
June 2-August 18:
Mon-Fri 9.00-19.00, Sat-Sun 10.00-17.00.
Rest of the year:
Mon-Fri 10.00-18.00, Sa 10.00-14.00
In the busy town center right among stores, resturants and bicycle stalls is the beautiful pale-beige church of St:Nicolai. the building dates back to the Middle Ages, and it has played some important historic roles throughout Swedish history. Today, it provides a peaceful contrast to the rest of the modern downtown. Check at the note board for services and musical concerts. Or just go inside and have a look around.
The castle in Örebro is some 700 years old. According to the tourist office, the oldest parts of the building were erected during the Middle Ages, then it served the purpose of defending the town and hosting prison cells. Later it became a royla castle, hosting banquets and sometimes even parliament sessions.
Today, though, the castle is mostly used for conferences. There are guided tours for those who want to see the interiors, and on the tours you will learn som about what life was like in the castle some 400 years ago.
And, quite fittingly, the castle also hosts the Tourist office of Örebro!
The exterior is made of light brown stone, and the whole building is quite small and compact, "sturdy" you might say. The building is mirrored in the water surrounding it, and it looks quite lovely.