Stockholm’s Cathedral, known as the Storkyrkan, or ‘Great Church’, is situated at the highest point of Gamla Stan near the Royal Palace.
This Lutheran brick built structure replaced the original church that was built here during the 13th century, probably by Birger Jarl, the founder of Stockholm.
The oldest parts of the present church can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th cent, but the exterior was re-built between 1736 and 1742 in an Italian Baroque style that complemented the nearby Royal Palace.
The interior of the church remained largely unaltered from the 1480s when it reached its present size, but many of the additional features, such as the Royal Pews were introduced towards the end of the 17th century.
The highlight is undoubtedly the sculpture of St George and the Dragon, but also make sure that you don’t miss the Parhelion Painting.
The church became Stockholm’s Cathedral in 1942 and has seen several royal occasions, but you don’t have to pay a King’s ransom to come in here. The website says that admission costs for visitors are SEK 40 (approx £4), but nobody asked for an entrance fee when I took a look around, maybe because it was a Sunday.
Normal opening times for visitors are from 09.00 - 16.00.
On the 20th April 1535 a strange phenomenon occurred above the Stockholm sky. Six rings of light with sun dogs (phantom suns) were observed, and as was often the case in these situations, it was interpreted as an omen of impending doom.
This phenomenon, sometimes known as a Parhelion, is not such an unusual occurrence as you might think. Apparently (and I’m no scientist), the halos and sun dogs are formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals in the atmosphere.
To record the event for posterity (providing the world survived of course), the artist Urban Malare was commissioned to create a permanent record of it.
The painting was produced just after the event and for years it was thought that what was hanging on the wall in Stockholm Cathedral was this original painting, but when it came to be restored in 1998 it was found to be a copy from 1636 by Jacob Heinrich Elbfas.
As disappointing as this may have been at the time, the painting is regarded as a faithful copy of the original and still highly revered.
Not only was it an interesting subject in its own right, it also became an emblem of Swedish history due to the fact that the country was going through a period of massive change when it was commissioned - and if that’s not enough, it’s also the oldest known portrayal of Stockholm as well.
The sculpture of St George and the Dragon in the Storkyrkan is an absolute gem.
It was commissioned by Sten Sture the Elder who fought off the Danes in 1471, and who was no doubt comparing himself with St. George’s heroics at ‘Silene’.
For those who aren’t familiar with the story of St George and the Dragon it’s basically a tale about how St. George rescued the King of Silene’s daughter from a dragon that lived in a nearby lake. Not only did he save the King’s daughter, he offered to kill the dragon if the town’s inhabitants converted to Christianity, which they did - including the King.
The moral of the story of course is that good will always triumph over evil.
The sculpture, which was unveiled in 1489 as an altar monument, is well preserved for its age and is attributed to Berndt Notke of Lubeck.
Carved out of oak, other materials such as elk antlers and horsehair were also used. Understandably, you can’t get too close to it, but close enough to admire the workmanship that went into this quite remarkable artistic piece of work, which has survived for so many years.
As a word of warning, make sure that you don’t get confused with the 1912 replica bronze statue on Kopmanbrinken. You shouldn’t do of course, but I doubt that you would be the first if you did.
Storkyrkan is the main church and tightly connected with the Swedish kings. Sweden's lutheran church is a state church with the king as its head. Royal ceremonies take place inside this church.
Over seven centuries the brick gothic hall church has been extended and refurbished over and over again. The interior was meant to impress, and it does. The church contains lots of magnificent artworks and furniture that impresses both through artistic quality and through its sheer size. I'd like to mention in particular:
- the silver altarpiece with reliefs showing the main scenes from Christ's Passion, in best Lutheran tradition, and statues of Moses and John Baptist,
- the baroque "Royal Chairs", two boxes under high canopies in the shape of crowns held by flying angels, framing the central aisle,
- the lifesize statue of St George on horseback (late 15th century)
- the late medieval bronze chandelier, total height 3.7 metres.
Opening hours: The church is open daily from 9.00 to 16.00 except during services.
Entrance fee: 40 SEK if I remember correctly. I'm always a bit grumpy when I have to pay to enter a church - but the interior is worth seeing, missing it would be a pity.
If you go for a walk in the Old Town of Stockholm, don't miss this lovely old church between the Royal Palace and Nobel Museum. The exterior is rather modest but the inside is truly why they call it "great". When I went in, they were practising for an Easter concert and I could hear instantly that the acoustics is great, as well. Must attend a concert if possible!
Inside, you'll see treasures from different time periods, like the dramatic statue of St. George killing the dragon (from ca 1500), pulpit in the French baroque style (ca mid 1700), lavishly decorated Royal Pews with the large royal crowns as a canopies over each of them on both sides of the aisle. There are also many commemorative statues and details to see so please reserve some time to see this church.
There is also a gift shop you can visit when you exit the church via the side door as instructed by the big exit signs.
The St. Nicolas Church (Sankt Nikolai kyrka), which is also known as the Great Church (Storkyrka), is the oldest church in Stockholm's old town (Gamla Stan).
Its history dates back to the 13th century when it was founded by Birger Jarl, who is also considered as the founder of Stockholm.
The architectural design of the church is an important example for the Swedish Brick Gothic style.
The St. Nicolas Church stands next to the Royal Palace in Stockholm's old town.
The nearest metro stop is "Gamla Stan".
Sankt Nikolai kyrka (Church of St. Nicholas), most commonly known as Storkyrkan (The Great Church) and Stockholms domkyrka (Stockholm Cathedral), is the oldest church in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm, Sweden.
It is an important example of Swedish Brick Gothic. Situated next to the Royal Palace, it forms the western end of Slottsbacken, the major approach to the Royal Palace, while the streets Storkyrkobrinken, Högvaktsterrassen, and Trångsund passes north and west of it respectively. South of the church is the Stockholm Stock Exchange Building facing the Stortorget square and containing the Swedish Academy, Nobel Library, and Nobel Museum.
Storkyrkan was first mentioned in a written source dated 1279 and according to tradition was originally built by Birger Jarl, the founder of the city itself. For nearly four hundred years it was the only parish church in the city, the other churches of comparible antiquity originally built to serve the spiritual needs religious communities (e. g., Riddarholm Church). It became a Lutheran Protestant church in 1527. The parish church since the Middle Ages of the Nikolai parish, covering the whole island on which the Old Town stands, it has also been the cathedral of Stockholm since the Diocese of Stockholm was created out of the Archdiocese of Uppsala and the Diocese of Strängnäs in 1942.
Because of its convenient size and its proximity to the earlier royal castle and the present royal palace it has frequently been the site of major events in Swedish history, such as coronations, royal wedding and royal funerals. The last Swedish king to be crowned here was Oscar II in 1873. Crown Princess Victoria, oldest daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, was married to Daniel Westling on 19 June, 2010 at the Storkyrkan, the same date on which her parents were also married in Storkyrkan in 1976.
The Storkyrkan (Great Church) was built in 1306 at the site of a small chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas.
This Church, which is now a Cathedral, is where Princess Victoria was married in 2010.
To me, it doesn't look that impressive from the outside. The gothic interior was built in the 15th century, where-as the exterior is in Baroque style in the 1740's, this was to complement the Royal Palace.
Inside, it's a five-aisled church and very nice!
My favourite in the Church, is the magnificent sculpture of St George and the Dragon. It commemorates the victory of the Swedish army over the Danes at the battle of Brunkeberg in 1471. The sculpture is made of wood, iron and gold leaf and elk horn was used for the dragon's scales. It is the best sculpture of St. George and the Dragon I have seen, fantastic!
Another important piece, was the Sun Dog Painting depicting an atmospheric phenomenon that was observed above Stockholm on April 20, 1535, when six 'sun dogs' or 'mock suns' were seen over the city. The current picture is a copy, painted in 1636, as the original one from 1535 was lost. Other interesting artwork in the church include the silver altar from 1650, the pulpit and two royal chairs.
I am glad that I went inside, it was worth it to see these treasure's!
As well as St George & the Dragon there are a few other points of interest within this beautiful cathedral. These include a 600 year old bronze candelabra which sits in front of the prized silver altar. Check out the pulpit as well the paintings The last Judgement and The Parhelion Painting
Storkyrkan is Sankt Nikolai kyrka (Church of St. Nicholas) and it is the oldest church in Gamla Stan dated 1279. This Gothic church is situated next to the Royal Palace. In interior you can see the most famous – the wooden statue of Saint George and the Dragon.
The last Swedish king to be crowned here was Oscar II.
The interior of the Storkyrkan contains some interesting artifacts but the most famous is the huge St George & The Dragon sculpture. It was made by Berndt Notke of Lubeck, from materials that included oak and elk antlers, way back in the late 1400s. It was commissioned by Sten Sture the Elder to commemorate his victory over the Danish who had invaded Stockholm. Perhaps he saw in himself the legend of St George and the Danish as the Dragon that he slayed to save the city! Definitely something to check out when you are in the cathedral. Stand back to take in the whole sculpture but when you go up close you can see the work that has gone into it and see how it is made from natural materials.
Stockholms main cathedral is Storkyrkan which is located in Gamla Stan, right beside the Royal Palace at the top of Slottsbaken. Its been a cathedral since 1942 but its believed that the cities founder, Birger Jarl, first had a church built on this site back in the 1200's. The warm yellow coloured exterior of the current Cathedral is influenced by Italian Baroque. The entrance is on Trangsund