Sigtuna and Örebro

Sunday 11 August 2019 – Tuesday 13 August 2019 Sigtuna- Örebro

Sigtuna

We decided to visit Sigtuna since the town is about medieval churches, houses and stones of the Viking area, because from the beginning Sigtuna was a Christian town, named Situna Dei (God’s town). 

Sigtuna is about 50 kilometres from Stockholm and was founded by King Erik the Victorious in 980AD making it Sweden’s oldest town, that is still around today. It was here, too, from 995 onwards, that the first minting of coinage in Sweden took place. 

We started our visit at Sigtuna Tourist Office which is housed in Drakegården House built in the 18th century and used as both a tavern and private residence. This would account for the large dragon figure hanging above the entrance.

Places in Sigtuna:

Sigtuna Town Hall a quaint little two room building in Stora Torget Square, built in the 18th century. One room was the guardroom of the police station and had two cells and the other was the council hall. Today, it is a museum and on display in one small room is the original furniture from 1740 used by the council.

St Mary’s Church is the oldest brick building, built in the 13th century and used as an abbey up until the reformation in the 1530s. Today, it operates as a parish church and the inside is beautiful without being opulent.

Gerner Chapel is in the same grounds as St Mary’s Church. It is a mausoleum of the Gerner family built by Anna Gerner after her husbands’ death in 1755.  The coat of arms of the Gerner and Gyllenborg family are placed on each side over the gate.  

St Olof Church Ruins date back to the 12th century and is one of the three preserved medieval church ruins. Scientific excavations in the early part of 21st century found the remnants beneath the church of an even older church, perhaps the oldest stone church in Sweden. The ruins are quite extensive with an area inside which you are able to walk through.

St Lars Church Ruins was erected in connection with Christianity in the 12th century and the tower is the only remains.  It also was used up until the reformation and then left to decay.  

St Pers Church Ruins which was built in around the year 1100, most likely by the King, is under refurbishment and is covered with netting, scaffolding and fencing hence, we could not visit this site.

Rune Stones

There are a total of 12 rune stones in the medieval town centre. Each of the rune stones has an information board which translates the runic inscription. The practice of erecting rune inscribed memorial stones occurred in Denmark in the 960s and spread to Norway and Sweden. The runic alphabet has 16 characters. Rune stones are memorial stones meant to preserve the memory of both the deceased and erectors for all future and where placed on selected spots where they were clearly visible. The runic inscription is usually arranged inside a band which often has the shape of a serpent, a dragon or a quadruped beast.  Rune stones are the oldest surviving original documents in the Swedish language. It is fascinating to think that researchers can interpret the meaning of the inscriptions and use history to understand past generations.

Stora Gatan is believed to be Sweden’s oldest main street dating back to the time of 10th century King Erik the Victorious. It was the backbone of the medieval settlement’s town plan. The original street lies hidden under thick layers of occupation debris. Now it is full of shops and restaurants in traditional wooden houses.

Sigtuna is a lakeside picturesque town, small enough to walk around with some very interesting sights. We really enjoyed just wandering the streets looking at the ruins and finding the rune stones, some of which were hidden in walls. The harbour area of Lake Mälaren is a lovely spot to take a break and gaze.

tree growing on the walkway at Sigtuna Harbour

We then drove to Örebro where we free camped alongside a small lake and canal on the outskirts of the town with about 15 motorhomes.

Örebro

Örebro is a village located on the western shore of lake Hiälmaren, about 200 km from Stockholm and 280 km from Gothenburg.

a house on the river Svartän

We had a pleasant walk along the canal into the town centre from our motorhome park which took about 25 minutes.

our campsite

On the way we noticed the area was dotted with displays of art with numbers attached. After visiting the tourist information centre, we found out these are part of an exhibition, 2019 Örebro OpenArt. This is the largest art festival in the Nordic countries and runs from June to September, every two years. The artworks are quite creative and thought provoking.

In Örebro:

Örebro Castle is a medieval castle fortification which lies on the islet in the river Svartän. It was built after a band of German merchants settled in Örebro in the 13th century, attracted by rich iron deposits. The castle was enlarged in the 14th century and then Gustav Vasa’s son Karl IX added fortifications. When the Danes were no longer a threat, it fell into disuse and was used as a prison and storehouse.  Another room was used to house suspected witches and became a torture chamber. The castle of today was renovated in the 1890s.

Stadsparken is a beautiful park next to river Svartän. It has a playground, a splashing dust (shallow pool), lots of interesting sculptures, a stage for outdoor performances and a tennis court. The well-designed park with plants and trees make this a stunning, peaceful park to wander through.

Wadköping is Örebro’s old town located on the banks of the Svartän. It contains many 17th,18th and 19th century original wooden houses and farms, along with museums, exhibitions, café, restaurants, woodworkers, bakery and many other craft shops, It represents what Örebro’s buildings and city environment used to look like. A town street runs through the middle of Wadköping with buildings on either side. On one side, the red buildings depicts 17th,18th and early 19th century buildings, while the other side shows Örebro’s city environment after the great fire of 1854.  The district, Wadköping, is a fictitious name that Hjalmar Bergman gave to the city in which he grew up. The name appears in his novel ‘Markurells I Wadköping’ (Bergman is a famous Swedish writer and playwright).  

Even though there are limited historic sights, Örebro, is a small beautiful town which is very pleasant to wander around.  The way the town is designed and maintained you can feel the pride of the people who live here.

We left Örebro and headed for Gothenburg.

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