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Riddarholmen

Day 2 continued

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After the long tour of Gamla Stan I felt the need for a relaxed walk at my own pace and a break from the group. The museum of modern art was suggested for the afternoon, but the weather was far too nice and sunny for a museum visit. I stayed inside Storkyrkan longer than the others and then walked down the hillside to the bridge over to Riddarholmen, a separate island west of Gamla Stan. A narrow branch of water divides them.

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The baroque Riddarhuset next to the bridge was the meeting point of Swedish nobility. It was built in the 1640s. Four architects were involved, and they used Dutch architecture as model for their design. The gable is entitled: „Palatium ordinis equestris“, Palace of the estate of knights. The inscription above the portal cites the motto: „Arte et Marte“ - art and war. The two main occupations of nobility. The statues on the roof are allegories of 'noble' virtues.

Riddarholmskyrkan: Burial Place of the Kings and Queens

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Riddarholmskyrkan, the church on the island of Riddarholmen, with its delicate spire is a landmark in the cityscape.

The gothic church was built from bricks in the 13th century and extended several times - I do not want to enter the details of its construction history too deeply.

The nave is surrounded by small burial chapels from different eras, most of them baroque.

The details of the roof landscape and the chapels are worth a closer look. The chapels are crowned with gilded „toppings“ that use various Christian symbols.

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The steeple of Riddarholmskyrkan was badly damaged by a fire in 1835. Afterwards it received the present spire which adopts gothic patterns but uses the new technology of the 19th century industrialization: cast iron. This material allows much more delicate structures than stone. From a distance, the spire looks like lace.

The church has important significance for the country since it has been the burial place of the royal dynasty since the 16th century.

Riddarholmskyrkan contains the graves of the Swedish Kings and Queens and their close relatives. The church is used as burial and memorial place only, for 200 years there has been no regular service any more. All succeeding rulers of Sweden from Gustav II Adolf (d. 1632) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are buried in the Riddarholmen Church, with the one exception of Queen Christina. There are also a couple of graves of kings from the middle ages. The most prominent 'inmate' is probably Gustav Adolf, whose body was transferred back to Stockholm after his death in the battle of Lützen in the 30 Year War.

Practical hints:
Opening hours: The church is open for visits only during the summer months from mid-May to mid-September.
Please refer to the website for detailed opening hours and other information: http://www.kungahuset.se/royalcourt/royalpalaces/theriddarholmenchurch.4.396160511584257f2180001466.ht
Entrance fee (2014): adults 50 SEK, children 25 SEK. Payment can be done by credit card only - no cash is accepted.

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P.S. To my astonishment I read on the website recently that taking photos or videos inside is not allowed. However, when I was there, there was nothing written and nothing said (or I totally missed it), I stayed quite long and openly took a lot of photos all over the church and chapels, and no one objected - I think I even asked if it's okay to take pictures, I usually do. So either it is a new rule, or I missed something, or it isn't enforced. I cannot tell you how this will be handled in the future. Anyway, however it is, turn that flash off.

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The founder of the city of Stockholm, Birger Jarl, is commemorated in a monument on the island of Riddarholmen. Birger, the king of Sweden, built a first fortification around 1250 to protect the lake from pirates. According to legends the place was decided upon by throwing a tree trunk into Mälar lake, which then 'beached' on the shore of this island. The statue looks rather 19th century to me, maybe even early 20th century. The king is depicted as a knight in the pose of a resting hero, leaning on his sword and shield.

Evert Taubes Terrass

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My favourite place on a sunny afternoon to sit and rest, enjoy the view and just – feel being there, that’s Evert Taubes Terrass.

The terrace occupies the western shore of Riddarholmen island behind Wrangell Palace. There are some benches on the terrace and it is rarely crowded.

In the afternoon you have the sun in your face and the wind blowing in from Mälar lake over the glittering waters of Riddarfjärden.

This is the perfect spot to rest after a visit to Riddarholmskyrkan.

On the other side of Riddarfjärden Stadshuset, the city hall, is the dominant landmark, with the three gilded crowns on top of the tower gleaming in the sunlight.

Should you overlook it, which is hardly possible, though, the statue of a musician with a guitar – no idea who he is – points towards it.

The abstract modern sculpture on the terrace further left also makes a good foreground for your photos.

Riksdag

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Then I made my way back to the hotel for a bit of rest before dinner. The shortest connection on foot from Gamla Stan over to Drottninggatan and the city centre leads right through the grounds of the parliament.

The parliament of Sweden, named Riksdag, has its own island between Gamla Stan and the city. A public passage leads over the island through arched gates.

The parliament building was erected in the early 19th century in neorenaissance style. The models were surely taken from the Italian renaissance architecture, given the general appearance of the buildings (and, for the experts, the use of the Serliana pattern for the two gates). Some modern additions and extensions are visible from the opposite banks of the lake.

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Jacobs Kyrka

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The red church next to Kungsträdgården is named after St Jacob (James), the patron saint of all travellers (hence important to us, ha ha). Jacobs Kyrka was begun in the late 16th century and finished in 1643. Hence it is a renaissance church with some post-gothic structures and elements. Despite various restorations and refurbishments it has preserved some art works and its appearance.

The nave is a hall of three aisles with a higher middle nave, not a basilica because the row of windows at the upper walls is missing. The vaults are resting on sturdy round pillars.

The church treasure is on display inside the church. The parish owns a number of remarkable silversmiths' works like the bowl for baptism with a repoussage relief that shows the Baptism of Christ.

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That evening we were all rather tired. Nobody felt like more walking in the evening. All we did was cross the street to the Indian restaurant opposite our hotel for dinner. Then we called it a day.

Posted by Kathrin_E 07:48 Archived in Sweden

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Comments

Wow! Some stunning photos here Kathrin :)
What a fabulous day. Love the rich sky colour against many fine architectural designs.
Good job mate!
xx

by aussirose

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