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  • Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden. It is built on a series of islands that divide Lake Mälaren from the Baltic Sea giving the city a landscape of rocks, ridges, islands and water making it without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

    I took some pictures the other day:

    This is a picture of Stadshuset (the city hall) taken from Riddarholmen and looking across the frozen water (Riddarfjärden). The city hall was built by Ragnar Östberg between 1904 and midsummer's eve 1923 when it was opened. If you ever come to Stockholm visit the hall. Personally I do not like it from the outside that much (not a great fan of the dark red brick I'm afraid, tends to give it the same feeling as a prison) but the inside is a different story. The Council chamber and the Golden hall with it's gold mosaic walls are well worth a look.

    The Opera house. Built between 1887 and 1898 by Axel Anderberg, it lies to the north of Gamla Stan (the old town) on Gustav Adolfs torg. The original Opera house was torn down in favour of building this one which is a shame. The design of this was made because there was a desire in Stockholm at that time to make the buildings around this part of the city to architecturally match the Tessin's Royal Palace.

    The original church was built between 1280 and 1310 although various bits have been added up to 1743. This is a most beautiful medieval building and is the burial place of Swedish Kings. Unfortunately the photo does not do it justice, but then if you came here for photographic quality you screwed up.

    Looking North across Birger Jarls Torg on Riddarsholmen

    And there's Birger himself looking very stone faced. Birger Jarl governed Sweden in the 13th Century. The first time the name "Stockholm" can be found is in the year 1252 on two documents signed by him. He therefore is the founder of Stockholm and it's castle, the "Tre Kronor" or three crowns which is now the emblem of Sweden. The castle became the most important defensive fortification in the country and in doing so granted Gamla Stan (the old town) it's protection. The Birger Jarl Tower and the south tower of the Wrangelska tower are the only visible remnants of the fortification left today.

    Gamla Stan is a lovely place to take a stroll about first thing in a summers morning. Ideally about 5am before all the tourists wake up and the shops open. Unfortunately although the building are quite beautiful in architecture and colour a lot of this is lost in the sea of tourists and tacky tourist goods that are sold on the main street (Prästgatan). I've never understood this. This is a remarkable street filled with the history of Stockholm. A few classy shops selling some of Sweden's many fine inventions and designs would make this combined with a few coffee shops a wonderful place, but oh no. They have to fill it with plastic Viking helmets, plastic swords and toys making it an advert for the worst of Taiwan child labour. Go there out of shopping hours and you wont be disappointed.

    Built between 1580 and 1624. When I walk from Södermalm towards the city I always take a side roads through to this church. It's a lovely walk. Nothing much else to say really except that I like this picture so I thought I'd show it to you.