Gammelstad Church Town, a Living Tradition

Gammelstad Church Town, a Living Tradition, Gammelstaden, Sweden (B)

Rows of tiny wooden cottages in streets radiating out from the medieval stone church. Each painted in the typical red and white of Swedish rural dwellings. But there are no permanent residents, and these are not holiday cottages. Welcome to Gammelstad Church Town, part of a tradition that arose in the Middle Ages and still lives on today.

Gammelstad Church Town is a collection of more than 400 cottages built for the sole purpose of providing families with somewhere to stay when they attended church. We were shown round by Christoffer, who has an extensive knowledge about the town, its church and its history. He explained the origins of Gammelstad, saying that in the Middle Ages the area that is now the far north of Sweden had become very prosperous through furs and fishing. The Swedish government was keen to tax this trade but could only do so by building a church and creating a parish that was accountable to that church.

The church was inaugurated in 1492 and its parish was huge, stretching right up to the Norwegian border. Church attendance was compulsory at that time, but for many parishioners it was too far to travel there and back in one day. So the church gave each family a small plot of land to build a cottage to stay in when they attended church services. ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Gammelstad Church Town, a Living Tradition
Guide Location: Sweden » Gammelstaden
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (B))
Author: Karen Warren
Read it on Author's Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Gammelstad Church Town
  • Hägnan Open Air Museum