Fun things to do in Sweden

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Sweden

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    Mariefred, too cute to be true

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Mariefred is one of these villages you have to see just to believe that they are existing (as opposed to Sigtuna, which in my humble opinion is more of a tourist trap). I fell in love with this picturesque village already years ago when I saw Simone’s description on VT and managed to come for a visit, in winter though. But in summer when all houses are decorated with flower pots, when the gardens and especially the roses are in full bloom and the colourful houses shine in the sunlight, it is even more magic to stroll around and take gazillions of photos. What I liked most in Mariefred is that it is a living village and not kept as an open air museum (my impression of Sigtuna). In addition to take photos of the beautiful houses you can also go “shop sign hunting”. Many of the shops have magnificent iron signs depicting icons for their business; even the dentist is easy to find (see photo). Mariefred’s centre is the little square with the beautiful town hall, which houses the tourist office (open Mo-Sat: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in summer). From there, the street Storgatan leads westward. That’s Mariefred’s main shopping road, a pedestrian one. And here is another of Mariefred’s gems: a little café and sweet shop with very delicious hot chocolate (can be life saving in cold winters, haha), tea and chocolate: Två Goda Ting (= two good things). Near the lake with a marvellous view of Gripsholm Castle is Mariefred’s contribution of a local museum inside one of the early merchant’s houses: Callanderska gården. The garden is open all year round but the museum only in summer.
    Train enthusiasts will love the cute and picturesque train station where a steam train is working in summer between Mariefred and Läggesta and back (20 min train ride each way).
    And finally Mariefred was home to the German writer Kurt Tucholsky in his last years after he was chased by the brain sick Nazis. He wrote the romantic novels Gripsholm Castle and Rheinsberg and found his resting home on the cemetery. This, however, is not next to the church, but in the northeastern part of Mariefred.

    Mariefred on google maps,

    Mariefred’s cemetery on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Södermanland;
    nearest airport: Stockholm (international) or Västerås (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Sweden’s oldest church, magnificent interior

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Husaby kyrka (church) was my introduction to Sweden’s magnificently painted old church interiors. Well, not exactly, there is one little church in Uppsala I have visited some years ago. These richly painted interiors caught my attention because it is very rare to find these in my own country (and I am not talking about the overly decorated baroque churches in Bavaria, of which we have so many). So it was logical that we stopped here for a visit on our way from Kinnekulle to Lake Mälaren.
    Husaby kyrka was Sweden’s first bishop seat; king Olof Skötkonung was baptised here in 1008. These days the church was a stave church which was transformed into a stone church in 12th century. Later, the vaults were painted with magnificent frescos showing scenes of life of Christ. These, however, have been painted over for quite a time but thankfully have been brought back through extensive renovation early 20th century. In addition to these gorgeous paintings much of the interior is left from the past, such as the wonderfully carved rodd screen, the bishop’s chair (which is the oldest piece of furniture in Sweden) and the richly carved pulpit. In the chancel we found another hagioscope. Next to the rood screen is another very specific detail, an ambo/ambon, formerly used as the place from where the priest said the litanies. Travels as “learning instrument”, I have never heard of these ambons before. Like for many churches in Sweden, this one also had an (free of charge) audio guide. Look for the little box with buttons and languages on it. The speaker who tells about Husaby is a very much professional one. I loved listening to his voice, and felt myself transported back in time. He must be Swede, but his English and German was excellent!
    And also don’t miss to walk around the outside of this church to look at the old tombstones. Many of them are very old, weathered and overgrown with lichens, like the ones I saw in Ascot under Wychwood. In front of the church is an old sarcophagus which is said to be the one of Olof. And only a few metres to the north of the church is the old spring where Olof was baptised. It is still in use for baptising today.

    In case you are interested, I have uploaded more photos of the church and its surroundings on my Husaby page (but no tips).

    Directions:
    Husaby kyrka is located at the southeastern part of Lake Vänern, between Lidköping and Mariestad. To go there, take the road 44 and exit east of Götene. Follow the signs to Husaby kyrka (brown sign).

    Exact location of Husaby Kyrka on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Västra Götaland;
    nearest airport: Göteborg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Lovely old dream castle Fiholm

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Those who know me know that I seem to have a specific love for old and weathered buildings. So it was most natural that I developed a deep affection for Fiholm Castle when I saw it. Well, the pink wing to be precise. Fiholm Castle consists of two identical wings which face each other, one in bright orange and one in pink. The orange one is inhabited by the owners Charlott and Göran Mörner who have bought the whole property in 1988 and have restarted the farm. The pink wing is sadly used as storage (I peeked through the windows at its back side). Both buildings show signs of decay, but the orange one it a bit better maintained. On the other hand, I have read that they were never changed since they were built in 1642. The pink one would make a beautiful atmospheric B&B, maybe the owners might get the idea one day. I loved the simpleness of the whole ensemble; I think it was mainly because of the strong colours, the simple and symmetric windows and the iron tie bar ends. The latter ones are very much photogenic (see photos). Haha, yes, I seem to have a strong liking for these, especially if the wall is a bit decaying.
    The castle was built by Sweden’s Lord Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna who was one of the most powerful men of his time, had studied in Jena, Wittenberg and Rostock and was a diplomat and strategist during the 30 Years War. There is a cute story about the dispute between Axel and his son Johan regarding the castle, but I leave it to Simone to tell this story. The castle’s portals, by the way, are adorned with the Oxenstierna’s coat of arms – the ox horns are quite dominating. The importance of this family can also be seen in the nearby Jäder Kyrka (church), but that’s a story for another to-do tip.

    Fiholm Castle is still a working farm, that’s why it is not possible to enter all of the ground. But I could walk past the pink building to get a rough idea of how big the premises are and take a glimpse of the barn and some of the other farm buildings. The building next to the orange wing and the parking space is the former barn and this is now converted into a café and art gallery. They serve tea and coffee and homemade cake. Very delicious cakes, by the way, my blackberry cake was very good. The prices are also very reasonable, for tea and coffee and two cakes we paid 80 SEK. The café is open daily except Monday from noon to 6 p.m. in the months of June to August and Saturday and Sunday only in May.
    It is not possible to visit the castle, unfortunately. But on the other hand, this is understandable, you would’t want to have visitors trotting through your home all day long, would you? But there is one day in the year when the Mörner family opens the doors. It shall be announced on their website, though in Swedish only.

    I made a separate page about Björsund. No tips, but photos of the castle and its beautiful surroundings. The fields are also very photogenic, especially in late summer.

    Directions:
    Fiholm Castle is located in Södermanland, at Mälaren Lake, north of E20 (between Eskilstuna and Strägnäs). Get off at exit 134 and drive north, direction Kjulaås and then direction Björsund. The brown sign to Fiholm Slott is tiny, but you can’t miss it because the alley leading to the castle is lined with huge trees.

    Exact location of Fiholm Castle on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Södermanland;
    nearest airport: Stockholm (international) or Västerås (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Cake heaven in Taxinge Slott

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    I know Taxinge Slott since I know VT. Almost. It is the page, Simone (Sim1) made as her Christmas in Sweden page and it is customs among many of us VTers to start the Christmas season by reading it..(I have linked it in the website section) and get our mouths watered and us into the mood. Ok, but then I knew Taxinge Slott only virtually; until summer I have visited this page every Christmas season. So it was most natural that I wanted to go there during my summer trip in Sweden 2009. Of course not to visit the Christmas market or to get into the mood for Christmas – it would have been a bit weird to do so in the middle of July, won’t it? But to visit their famous cake buffet. And of course to eat some of their famous cakes. On their website they write that they have a selection of more than 60 cakes. However, to see the photo of the buffet on Simone’s page and to see it in real life, erm, in real buttercream and marsipan and fruit and all, that’s two things. I think I must have made a very dumb face when I saw it all finally and it was again most naturally difficult to chose among the variety. But since I found out that lemon cake is very delicious in Sweden, I wanted to try theirs. In addition – all good things come in threes, don’t they – I had a peppermint cakelet and a marsipan tarte. No photo of my cakes in this tip, I’m afraid, but on a separate page with more photos of the surroundings and the cakes but no tips.
    Their cakes are from 14 to 40 SEK, depending on the size. In addition they offer the Swedish sandwiches (smörgrås) from 45 to 95 SEK. Coffee and tea is 30 SEK but it includes free unlimited refills. Tea selection is excellent, they also have several loose teas as well. Oh and milk is 14 SEK. See pricelist for details.

    It seems to be a very popular place. We were lucky that it was summer and good weather, because otherwise we would not have got a table inside or in the tent on the lawn. So we had a seat in their lovely garden and enjoyed our cakes with prime views to Lake Mälaren and the castle park.
    Oh yes, I should mention that there is also a beautiful park, but we were round and full after this cake lunch and didn’t made it these few metres into the gardens. Even though Taxinge Slott is a castle, it is not possible to visit the upper floors because these are conference facilities. The side buildings are now used as little shops. The shop in the one to the left (facing the castle) is quite nice. They had what seemed to me genuine articles from Sweden for reasonable prices. I got several funny cookie forms there, including one with the famous Dala horse, a bat, a frog and a seahorse. Through Wikipedia I learned that Taxinge Slott was used as a location for the movie “Cries and Whispers” (1972, by Ingmar Bergman).

    Opening hours of the café:
    May to Aug.: daily, noon – 6 p.m.; Sept: noon – 4 p.m.; Oct. to April: Sat & Sun only, noon – 4 p.m. Closed on Christmas and New Year.

    And in case you want to look for a new cake recipe, you can look at the ones, the castle website offers: Taxinge cake recipes. Though it is in Swedish only.

    Directions:
    From Stockholm, take road 30 westward, direction Örebrö, Eskilstuna, Sigtuna. Exit at no.139 (Mariefred, Gripsholm) and follow the road to Hedlandet. Continue on this road when the one to Hedlandet turns left (north). You will cross the motorway twice, the last time after Nygård. From there, just follow the road to the north until you arrive at the castle. NB: I am sure we took another exit which was closer by Nygård and which was marked “Taxinge Slott”. But neither google maps nor my map show it……

    Exact location of Taxinge Slott on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Södermanland;
    nearest airport: Stockholm (international) or Västerås (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Oh heavenly cakes..... part 1 Oh heavenly cakes..... part 2 Oh heavenly cakes..... part 3 Oh heavenly cakes..... part 4 And then of course: Taxinge Slott :-)
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    Most amazing old wooden church Granhult

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Granhult kyrka (= church) is the most beautiful church I ever saw. Yes, even compared to Basilica San Marco’s glittering splendor. It is the simple beauty, the painted wooden interior, which made this little church so exceptional for me. From the outside it looks rather simple, covered all over with weathered shingles. I found the birch trees left and right of the entrance very cute, something like a welcome sign, or maybe a remains of last midsummer?
    According to the leaflet, the church was built around 1220, completely in wood. Inside it is painted all over: walls, ceilings, the chancel, the little vestry. Many of the paintings are of “newer” date (17-18th century) though, but this didn’t take away the really breathtaking feeling I had inside. The paintings on the main ceiling are depicting God’s throne in heaven (see photo). The ones in the vestry are scenes of the Old Testament, mainly Adam and Eve in paradise and Abraham’s sacrifice, painted by the artist Johan Christian Zschotzscher. There is an interesting little opening in the chancel (closed now) which, according to the information displayed outside of the church, is a hagioscope, a hole through which people who were not allowed to enter the church, either because they were sick or because they had committed a crime, could watch the mass. On the wall opposite of the altar is a little statue, of St. Olaf (of Norway) with axe and a figure below his feet. It is quite interesting to read about him on Wikipedia (see link) because it explains a lot about early Scandinavian history.

    Take your time to visit this church. It won’t be crowded, and the people who come for a visit will respect the serenity. When I was there, everyone who entered the church was speechless in view of these magnificent paintings and atmosphere.
    The church is open daily and there is no entrance fee. But it would be good to leave a donation in the little box below the St. Olaf statue. I found the sign there very much moving and it served the purpose:
    You have seen me and maybe admired me,
    I am old and fragile, please help to maintain me,
    Please put a coin in the box,
    That’s what the church’s committee is asking for. Thanks.

    If you like, you can look at the six albums on my Granhult page, it will give you more ideas of the church’s interior and the surroundings.

    Directions:
    From Växjö, drive northeast, direction Lenhovda. It is north of Lenhovda, on road 31, between the villages/hamlets of Vithult and Markhult on the eastern side of the road. There is a sign which says Granhults k:a (k:a = kyrka, church), but it is a white sign, not a brown one with reference to historical sights (which is do not understand due to this beauty of the church). After turning off road 31, it is approx. 1 km to drive/walk/cycle.

    Location of Granhult Kyrka on Google Maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Småland;
    nearest airport: Kalmar (international) or Växjo (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    God in heaven - Granhults kyrka ceiling Part of the chancel, Granhults kyrka Detail of the vestry wall, Granhults kyrka Hagioscope, Granhults kyrka Granhults kyrka
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    St. Eric's Path, Uppsala

    by hopang Updated Jun 11, 2012

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    St. Eric's Path (Eriksleden in Swedish language) is the most famous among all the paths in and around Uppsala. It stretches from Gamla Uppsala kyrka (Old Uppsala church) to the center of the city in Uppsala passing through Svartbäcken's residential area, a distance of approximately six kilometer long. Yellow direction signs (as depicted on our main photograph) are indicated along the way to guide visitors to the correct path.

    Scenery along the way is wonderful to admire especially the scenic river with many different species of birds and ducks, the wooden and metal bridges, the magnificent structure of Fyrishov sports centre, the lovely and quiet residential area of Svartbäcken, the undulated hills, the thin evergreen forests, the vast vacant green land, the villages at Gamla Uppsala and of course the three burial mounds.

    Tables and chairs together with the waste disposal bins are provided along the way for visitors to rest and have some picnics before continuing their journey towards their desired destination. We have walked along this path several hundred times. Nevertheless we do not seem to get bored. St. Eric's Path is also an ideal path for cycling, jogging and walking with the dogs especially by the locals.

    History of St. Eric's Path as quoted in the signboard at the starting point at Gamla Uppsala kyrka in Gamla Uppsala (as depicted on our third photograph).

    It reads:- "According to the legend, on the 18th of May 1160 King Eric Jedvardsson walked from the royal manor at Gamla Uppsala to celebrate Mass in Uppsala. During Mass, a Danish force approached the church. When Eric left the church, a conflict began, which ended in his decapitation. His head rolled down from the height. Where it came to rest, a spring of water broke out.

    Eric was soon regarded as a saint. His grave lay in Gamla Uppsala church, but when the cathedral there burned down in the 13th Century, his remains were moved in the new cathedral at Uppsala. Every year, the reliquary was borne in procession back to Gamla Uppsala church. The cult was discontinued in the 16th Century.

    For the walker, St. Eric's Path gives a sense of tranquility during the 6 km walk in both urban and rural surroundings. Enjoy the peace and harmony your walk provides - Uppsala kommun."

    Direction sign - path of St. Eric Path of St. Eric Signboard at Gamla Uppsala kyrka Path of St. Erik in Gamla Uppsala The three burial mounds
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    The Burial Mounds, Gamla Uppsala

    by hopang Updated Jun 10, 2012

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    The Burial Mounds is one of the most popular tourist attractions at Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) in Uppsala. Tens of thousands of local and foreign tourists visit the site every year especially during the summer months between June and September. The West and East Mounds had been excavated whereas the Centre Mound was partially excavated. It was found that the dead had been properly cremated along with the precious objects. It is believed that the burial mounds were the burial grounds for the three kings during the Migration Period between the 4th and 6th centuries AD.

    The path that is leading past the three mounds as depicted on our main photograph is known as St. Eric's Path. We have seen large mounds like this in South Korea. Our fifth photograph is shown here as a comparison. It was taken at the Royal tombs in Tumuli Park in Kyongju in South Korea.

    The mounds in South Korea are out of bound to visitors. Visitors can only view the mounds from a distance as they are considered sacred places. In contrast visitors can climb to the top of the mounds in Uppsala and be rewarded with the commanding view of the surrounding areas in Gamla Uppsala. Visitors with families can be seen regularly having picnics above the mounds. Some locals even sun-bathing at the top of the mounds during hot summer.

    Full view of the Burial Mounds in Gamla Uppsala The West Mound, Gamla Uppsala The Centre Mound, Gamla Uppsala The East Mound, Gamla Uppsala Royal tombs at Tumuli Park in Kyongju (comparison)
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    Walking Street at Borgholm, Öland

    by hopang Updated Sep 18, 2011

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    If you visit Öland in general and Borgholm in particular don't miss Storgatan (literally means Big Street in English) which is Borgholm's walking street. The walking street is dotted with lots of shops especially shops dealing in gifts, decor and souvenirs, cafés and restaurants. The walking street is one of teh most popular tourist attractions at Borgholm.

    When we were there many shops are having realisation sales at large discounts. Most of these shops open only during the summer months usually between march and september each year. We found a structure which is quite imposing and attractive at the beginning of the walking street at Storgatan as depicted in our main photograph. We guess it is one of the better known landmarks in Borgholm. At the end of the walking street near the Guesthamn there is a park known as Societetsparken where you can enjoy a round of minigolf.

    Anyway the weather was not kind to us that day. The sky was quite dark. It was windy and had been drizzling on and off. We stayed in the shops looking for bargain and hunting for souvenirs most of the time!

    Imposing structure in front of walking street Weather was not kind to us at Borgholm Ebbas Caf�� at walking street Borgholms Outlet at walking street Open market at the walking street in Borgholm
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    Marine Museum, Karlskrona

    by hopang Updated Sep 15, 2011

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    The Maritime Museum of Karlskrona is part of the naval port of Karlskrona which was designated as world heritage site by UNESCO since 1998. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city of Karlskrona. The museum has two floors of exhibition space. The view of the museum and the naval port is amazing from the sea as depicted in our above photographs.

    Admission ticket to the museum is 90.00 kronor for adults and free-of-charge for children. Its opening hours are between 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. daily during the summer months with shorter opening hours during the winter months. Visitors can visit the museum free-of-charge during the winter months. You may e-mail to the following address for more information about the naval port of Karlskrona:- marinemuseum@maritima.se

    The Marine Museum, Karlskrona Naval port of Karlskrona View of Marinmuseum from the sea
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    Borgholm Castle, Öland

    by hopang Updated Sep 15, 2011

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    Borgholm Castle has a history that date back to the 12th century. However the present baroque castle ruins were believed to be constructed in the middle of the 17th century during the reign of King Karl X Gustav. The castle was severely damaged in a fire in the early 19th century and was reconstructed ever since.

    Borgholm Castle is opened to the public from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. daily during the summer months. Entrance fee is 70.00 kronor for adults and 40.00 kronor for children. Even dogs are welcome in the castle. You purchase your entry tickets at Sottsbutik which aslo sells refreshments, books, postcards, toys, gifts and souvenirs. You may also purchase concert tickets at Slottsbutik.

    Borgholm Castle, ��land Entrance to Borgholm Castle Slottsbutik, the castle shop Guided tour of Borgholm Castle A model of Borgholm Castle
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    The Fredrik Church, Karlskrona

    by hopang Updated Sep 11, 2011

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    The Fredrick Church (Fredrickskyrkan in Swedish) is also located at the large Stora Torget (Market Square) in the heart of the town of Karlskrona nor far from Fisktorget at the harbour. This church was also designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger in the late 17th century. Facing the church is the statue of King Karl XI which stands in the middle of the square. Fredrick Church was constructed in honour of King Fredrick I. The statue is actually facing the Fredrick Church as depicted in our third photograph. The whole area of the Market Square is a favourite meeting place for the locals as well as foreign tourists. Don't miss the Market Square when you visit the town of Karlskrona on your vacation!

    Fredrikskyrkan, Karlskrona The Fredrik Church, Karlskrona Statue of King Karl XI, Karlskrona
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    Statue of King Karl XI, Karlskrona

    by hopang Updated Sep 11, 2011

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    The statue of King Karl XI (King Charles XI) is located in the middle of Stora Torget which was formerly a popular market square in the heart of the town of Karlskrona. The Market Square is said to be the largest in Scandinavia and the second largest in Europe after the Red Square in Russia.

    The area around the statue is a great meeting place for the locals as well as foreign tourists. This statue is the most photographed item in the town of Karlskrona and is also one of the most famous tourist attractions in the town. Near the Market Square is the busy walking street which is dotted with lots of bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and shops.

    Statue of King Karl XI, Karlskrona The statue from another angle
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    Church of Holy Trinity, Karlskrona

    by hopang Updated Sep 11, 2011

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    The Church of Holy Trinity (Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan in Swedish) is the most famous and most important church in and around the town of Karlskrona. It is located at the Stora Torget (Market Square) where several other prominent landmark buildings are also located including the other popular Fredrick Church, Concert Hall Theatre, City Library and the Post Office. The center of the square stands a statue of King Karl XI who was the founder of Karlskrona. The location in and around Karlskrona including the Naval Port of Karlskrona has been designated as world heritage site by UNESCO since 1998.

    The church was formerly known as Tyskakyrkan (the German Church) since most worshippers were German immigrants who used the church in the 18th century. Church of Holy Trinity was consecrated in the early 18th century. It was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger in the late 17th century.

    Church of Holy Trinity, Karlskrona Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan, Karlskrona
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    Malmö

    by grayfo Written Jul 1, 2011

    Malmö is Sweden's third largest city with over 260,000 residents. The old city centre around the Main Square provides an interesting mixture of old and new buildings. The best sights include St Peter's Church, the Town Hall and the Lilla Torg area with its indoor market.

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    Dragon Gate, Älvkarleby

    by hopang Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Dragon Gate is a Chinese style pavilion located approximately 85 kilometers north-east of Uppsala on the outskirts of Älvkarleby not far from Gävle, a coastal city on the east coast of Sweden. If you drive along the motorway E4 between Stockholm or Uppsala and Gävle, you will come across the magnificent Dragon Gate along the motorway with its impressive 12 storey Chinese architectural hotel. The distance between Uppsala and Gävle is approximately 100 kilometers.

    It is well worth stopping to have a look and to chill out. Admission to Dragon Gate is free at the moment except when making use of its amenities and facilities. Dragon Gate was constructed as a Chinese cultural center, a Chinese spa resort as well as a tourist attraction for local and Scandinavian tourists by mainland Chinese entrepreneurs. It seems construction works have not been entirely completed!

    A giant Buddhist statue is located inside the large compound surrounded by the great wall facing the hotel. The interior of the main Dragon Gate building is equally impressive as depicted in our hidden photogrpahs above! A Chinese museum depicting among others numerous Chinese Terracota warriors from Xian is located inside the compound near the Buddhist statue. The museum was closed when we visited Dragon Gate in April 2009.

    For those who are hungry, a Chinese restaurant serving economical Chinese buffet lunch is available at the Dragon Gate. Of course ample hotel rooms are available for those who wish to stay overnight at the resort.

    Dragon Gate, ��lvkarleby Giant Buddhist Statue Interior - near Chinese Restaurant Interior - near Chinese Restaurant Interior - near main entrance and reception
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