When you visit Linköping you must not miss the Old Town of Linköping. This is not a traditional old town because none of the old buildings are in there original location. The buildings are moved from different locations in the city of Linköping to this "museum" area.
It's like a town in the town with a lot of stores of craftmanship. Specialy in the summer it's easy to get the feeling of traveling back in time.
Linköping Castle has today been turned into a museum showing the history of the city which is quite dramatic. The castle itself is not one of those romantic ones but is still a lot older than it seems. In fact, it is the oldest non ecclesiastic building in Sweden! Its oldest parts are from the 12th century and from late 13th century onwards, this was the bishops' residence in what was then the second most important diocese in Sweden. During this time, the city of Linköping got the Folkunga family's lion as its coat of arms since the bishop Bengt Birgersson's father was none less than the Folkunga ancestor Birger Jarl - founder of Stockholm. You can still see the lion in city symbols - not least its ice hockey team.
The mansion was extended throughout the centuries and became a renaissance castle during the 16th century thanks to king Johan III and duke Karl and if you have been to Nyköping which was one of Karl's favourite cities, you will see similarities in castle architecture even if a lot is lost to us there. It is thought that the famous Linköping Blood bath executions (see my intro) took place here and not in one of the city's squares as thought earlier. At least the noble men were imprisoned here before their executions. After these dramatic events, the castle fell into a bit of disrepair but since 1785, it has been used as residence to the County chief of Östergötland where Linköping is the capital. In 2000, the museum was opened in the northern wing.
The museum shows the castle and cathedral history and how the city grew thanks to these. You get to see parts of the castle such as the turret where there is an exhibition on a dramatic meeting between Bishop Brask and king Gustav Vasa debating the reformation. Then there is the treasury with exhibits from the rich history of the cathedral. Finally, you can look at the permanent exhibition which includes stories of the foreign stonemasons who came here to build the cathedral and how this was done. The medieval atmosphere is also kept by a couple of mummified black rats...Apart from this there are temporary exhibitions on different times in the history of the castle such as the royal tours through Östergötland and various handicraft. I have not yet been here since time only allowed the more child friendly museums this time and I know I would have wanted to stay and read so much more but I would definately recommend it for the history buff.
The cathedral is not the most impressive in Sweden today, but visible for miles on the surrounding plain with its 107 metre tall spire and one of the most important sights in Linköping and to me it is one of the best cathedrals to visit.
It is a really old church as it was started in 1230, and by then there had already been a small church here for two hundred years. A stone church was started on in 1120 before the city outgrew that one and needed to start on this one in German Roman style. You can still see the altar table from this time! In 1251 a royal coronation took place here when Valdemar was installed as king. After this comes a long period when English stonemasons carved many of the gothic creatures you can see in the church and in 1520 the church was considered complete, being the most expensive Middle Ages building in Sweden. However, even later work still went on until 1885 to create the belfry and side towers.
To me, the cathedral holds special significance since it is the first and only place I have ever fainted! :))) I was in the Västervik church choir as a child and we went on a guest tour to the cathedral in the height of summer when it was very hot - try to sing then! Child after child fell over :) But apart from this, I really like the atmosphere here and this is the Swedish cathedral that most remind me of more continental ones in the rest of Europe - there is something medieval about the feeling here. I also like the Tree of Life candle holder and many other decorations here but primarily it is the atmosphere. Besides, the cathedral is right in the city centre and can be combined with other sights so there is no excuse to miss it.
Planes from the beginning of aviation in Sweden (partly here in Malmslätt) through to the latest development in Linköping - the Jas 39 Gripen air force plane which you can also test in a simulator (see homepage if you want to book it in advance - it costs around SEK 150 to try it and queues can be long). There is also exhibitions on a famous aviator lady, aviation art and other things and the souvenir shop sells books, some models and other things. The airplane collection includes Swedish planes such as the famous "Tunnan" but also several international, not least found on Swedish land or in lakes and the sea during WWII. Visitors get to know why the Finnish air force had a swastika on their planes long before the war and a lot about war time Sweden - it may have been a "neutral" country but it still helped out with all sorts of things in all directions. There are different "stations" so you can borrow audio guides and walk around taking in information from people telling stories and people telling of their own experiences.
In a few years, the museum will expand to house the famous Swedish DC3 that the Russians shot down on international waters in the Baltic Sea in the 1950s, saying that it was a spy plane. It has taken years of research to finally recover the plane and so on and in today's museum you can see its broken propeller and videos of what happened politically etc. but in future the plane itself will also be moved here from its current place at a Stockholm naval base.
Outside are more planes, not necessarily in as good order as the inside ones for natural reasons but the museum has a lack of space. There is a café in the old stables nearby and if you are lucky, the airbase behind the museum is in full swing so you get to see modern day action in the air. Children have a little play area with aviation experiments and things, and can also be taken out to do various experiments with plastic bottle rockets and similar. I strongly recommend this museum for anyone interested in modern history.
A fortified castle originally built in 1298 on a lovely, and strategically important location on the shores of the huge Lake Vänem.
The walls and sealings are richly painted in most rooms, and some 20 rooms out of the 200 are furnished with 17th century furniture. The castle's chapel, built in the 17th century is also very interesting.
The castle is open from May 1st to September 30th from 11 am. Closing time depends on the season, check before you go! The entrance fee is 50 kr/person above 26 years old, in May and September and 80kr in the high season. Its free under 26. It can be visited only with a guided tour, which is offered only in Swedish! It seems that foreign tourists are not very welcome here. We were lent a hard-to-follow English language broschure written with tiny letters in order to read what is said to the lucky others. Reading it and looking at the sites at the same time was not very easy. But, in spite of this, it was worth the visit!
Parking is 30 kr, so be prepared to have enough change to feed the machine.
One of the main highlights of Linköping is its cathedral. The cathedral dates back to the 13th century (however a smaller church was built there previously in the 12th century) and is of gothic style. It is also known to be the most expensive religious building constructed in the Middle Ages.
The green roof of the cathedral with its tallest spire at 107m (completed 1885), stands out as the prominent feature of Linköpings 'skyline'.
The main part of this cathedral that I liked was the 'Maria window' in the Chapel of St. Mary (at the east end of the building). The three windows were created by artist Lisa Bauer and an engraver Lars Börnesson. This portrait of Mary shows a beautiful, young and humble woman. She appears to wear a robe of many different flowers connected to her name. I just thought it was a very beautiful piece of artwork, very simple and moving.
Other artworks of the cathedral include the 'Tree of Life' (Livets träd), which is to the left after you enter. At the top of this tree is a dove symbolising peace. There are also nine different kinds of fruit on the tree representing different virtues (such as patience, love, humility and kindness).
The pulpit is also a piece of art. It was created in the mid 18th century by Niklas Österbom. The pulpit is filled with images and illustrations of stories from the bible, and looks like a grand centerpiece in this beautiful cathedral.
Also if you look down you will find tombs in the floor dating back at least 300+ years.
The cathedral is open from 9am-6pm daily, services are listed on the board at the entrance if you are interested.
The triptych made by the Dutch artist Maerten van Heemskerck had an interesting history.
The altarpiece was made for St Lawrence Church in Alkmaar, Noord-Holland.
During the ruling of the Calvinists, the painting was sold by the city council to the king of Sweden, but while it was transported to the new location an accident took place.
The triptych was miraculously rescued and donated by the king to the Linkoping cathedral.
Today in Alkmaar church can be seen a giant printed reproduction of the triptych.
The beautiful triptych was made in 1935 by the Norwegian artist Henrik Sorensen.
The motif of the triptych is the resurrected Jesus Christ accompanied on both sides by prophets, saints and Christians.
This very modern triptych replaced the Dutch one dating from 1530, which is now displayed in the southern aisle.
The tower was built with the help of the State Lottery organized in 1747-1758 and was rebuilt between 1877-1886 by Helgo Zettervall.
In 1960 the two east towers were added.
The tower is 107 meters high.
The city's treasure, Linkoping Cathedral, is dating from the second half of the 12th century.
The cathedral was modified and extended in the following centuries: the transept was changed, the west wall was completed in the 14th century and in 1500 the Cathedral was considered complete.
Dominating the skyline of Linkoping, this is probably the best preserved of all Gothic cathedrals in Sweden.
The cathedral is the seat of the bishop in the Church of Sweden.
Linkoping owns much of its rapid expansion to the establishment in 1937 of the famous Swedish aircraft concern SAAB (Svenska Aeroplan AB).
The fighter aircraft JAS 39 Gripen, its predecessors Lansen, Draken and Viggen or civilian models Saab 340 and Saab 2000 are all of them connected to Linkoping where the development and the manufacturing have been made.
Linkoping is located in Ostergotland province and in Ostrogothia region, on the southern part of Roxen lake, on the way from Stockholm to Helsingborg.
Together with its suburbs, it forms the fifth municipality of Sweden, Linkopings kommun with 136,190 inhabitants, out of which around 95,000 are living in the town.
Linkoping Old Town is a site where old houses and paved streets are presented as they were in the town a hundred years ago.
This is the right place to learn more about living and working in Linkoping a century ago.
The current St Lars Kyrkan was built in 19th century and it is the third to be built on this site.
The first church was a wooden stave church built in the 11th century, while the second one was in use until 1802.
In the church's crypt remains of the Medieval church beneath the floor of the present church can be still seen.
The church has a "Glockenspiel" which plays three times a day.
In Stora Torget (Grand Square) is the famous Statue of Folke Filbyter made by Carl Milles in 1927.
The statue represents a man riding a horse. The man was called Filbyter and used to eat young horses.