Historical Buildings Walking Tour, Gothenburg

Historical Buildings Walking Tour (Self Guided), Gothenburg

Like the majority of Swedish cities, Gothenburg is constantly re-inventing itself whilst continuing to celebrate its past. The latter is no more evident than in the city’s stunning historic architecture, manifested in a wonderful collection of stately old buildings, carefully preserved amid the relatively new ones.

Gothenburg’s architecture comes in a wide range of styles, from Gothic to Modernist, including several 17th-century buildings made of wood and great classical structures from the 18th century. In the past, series of fires had destroyed many local houses in various stages, leaving to survive only a handful of them, such as the Kronhuset (Crown House) in Gustaf Adolfs torg (square). This Dutch-style building is now one of the oldest in the city, completed in 1654, and was originally a storehouse for military equipment; today used as a concert hall.

Another remnant of the past is the City Hall, completed in 1672. Eventually considered too small for its purpose, it was extended in 1936 with a functional addition by architect Gunnar Asplund, whose way of blending the old with the new received international acclaim.

Gothenburg Cathedral, located in the city center, is the third cathedral on this site. The first one, opened in 1633, burned down in 1721; the second one, built in 1722, also perished in fire in 1802. The third and current building dates back to 1825, although it wasn't completely finished until twelve years later.

Speaking of the old-timers, one shouldn't forget the Skansen Kronan (Crown Sconce) fortress upon the Risåsberget hill in Haga neighborhood; completed in 1689, it offers a spectacular view of the city.

Among other, more modern architectural highlights of Gothenburg are: the Central Station, rebuilt a number of times since its inauguration in 1858; the Feskekôrka (“Fish Church”) fish market, completed in 1873 – here you can buy fresh fish and seafood straight off the docks; and the Hagabadet (Haga Baths), a Jugendstil building from 1876, partially burned down in 1903 and rebuilt.

If you're an architecture-buff or simply has an eye for all things beautiful, take this self-guided walking tour for a chance to admire these and other historic buildings of Gothenburg in their splendor.
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Historical Buildings Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Historical Buildings Walking Tour
Guide Location: Sweden » Gothenburg (See other walking tours in Gothenburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: stacey
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Gothenburg Central Station
  • The Bourse
  • Gothenburg City Hall
  • Tyska Kyrkan (German Church)
  • Kronhuset (Crown House)
  • Gothenburg Cathedral
  • St. Andrew's Church
  • Feskekôrka (Fish Church)
  • Hagabadet (Haga Baths)
  • Robert Dickson Foundation
  • Skansen Kronan (Crown Sconce)
Gothenburg Central Station

1) Gothenburg Central Station

Gothenburg Central Station is the main railway station of Gothenburg and the third largest railway station in Sweden. The first building was constructed between 1856 and 1857 by architect Adolf Wilhelm Edelsvärd on land which was previously occupied by a prison. First, the building included a big entry hall, two waiting areas and a few restaurants.

In 1923 the train station was rebuilt and enlarged after Folke Zettervall's plans, who was the official SJ architect by that time. On March 14, 1923, fire destroyed large parts of the Central Station. Between 1928 and 1930 the station was enlarged due to the increased volume of traffic. After 1930 some more changes were made, including a new restaurant built in front of Drottningtorget.
In 1993, the Central Station was restored and between 2000 and 2003 the Central House, was added as an extension to the existing building. The current interior design is similar to the 1923 model with wood pillars, glass ceiling and a floor made of limestoneю

In the 1940s it was proposed to demolish the waiting hall, but the hall was preserved as it was decorated with paintings by artist Filip Månsson but the paintings could not be preserved and it was decided to keep the hall.

During the 19th and early 20th century about one million Swedish emigrants passed the station in order to get to the harbour. Their final destination would be America.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Bourse

2) The Bourse

The Bourse (Swedish: Börsen) is a municipal building in Gothenburg. It is located on the north side of Gustaf Adolf Square.

Originally it was designed as a mercantile exchange, with a ballroom, by architect Pehr Johan Ekman in the Neoclassical style. It opened on 1 December 1849. The Gothenburg City Council has conducted its meetings here since January 5, 1863.

The Swedish term for this building, Börsen (derived from the French "La bourse"), is frequently mis-translated into English as "The Stock Exchange". However, the building was never primarily a stock exchange, but rather a commercial exchange or mercantile exchange (see Exchange (organized market)), in the same spirit as a modern commodities exchange. Although the Gothenburg exchange had no royal patronage, it fulfilled a similar function to the contemporaneous royal exchanges of, for example, Dublin, Edinburgh and London.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Gothenburg City Hall

3) Gothenburg City Hall

Gothenburg City Hall is a building complex located on Gustaf Adolf's square . It consists of an older part, which was completed in 1672 and was designed by Nicodemus Tessin and a newer part completed in 1936, designed by the architect Gunnar Asplund .

Planning for a permanent stone town hall began as early as the mid-1660s. Foundation walls, probably intended for a house, were then on the site. The new house was designed by Nicodemus Tessin d.ä.After adjustments, the drawings were completed in 1670. Construction work had already begun in 1668 under the leadership of master mason L. Olofsson from Stockholm. The section towards Stora Hamnkanalen was completed in the summer of 1672. The whole house was then plastered and "brushed".

The town hall was considered too small over time, and the first time the idea of building for it arose was in 1885. But only on October 22, 1936, the scaffolding was demolished, and the highly functionalist extension was inaugurated shortly thereafter. It is most often called the Asplund extension and is characterized on the inside by the bright town hall with its glass wall facing the town hall. The extension is decorated with the relief series The Four Winds (1937–1941) by Eric Grate.

In the town hall sat the former city council for Gothenburg, later Gothenburg town hall court and then parts of Gothenburg district court . On 15 February 2010, the district court was moved to Rättscentrum Göteborg on Ullevigatan 15, which meant that the building was empty until 2012, when it was renovated and rebuilt to become Gothenburg City Hall . On 13 April 2014, the building was reopened by the chairman of the municipal board, Anneli Hultén. It has since housed both the municipal management and the city management office.

Gothenburg City Hall has been a listed building since October 24, 1968 and October 25, 1982. It is owned by the municipality of Gothenburg and managed by Higab .
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Tyska Kyrkan (German Church)

4) Tyska Kyrkan (German Church)

The German Church (Swedish: Tyska kyrkan), also known as Christinae Church (Christinae kyrka, Christinenkirche), is a building belonging to the non-territorial German Christinae parish at Norra Hamngatan, in the heart of Gothenburg. Named after Queen Christina, daughter of King Gustav II Adolf, it was inaugurated in 1748, and is currently used by both the German and Dutch congregations of Gothenburg.

The hall church is built in yellow brick, and its main building, including the chancel to the east (but not the tower to the west), is covered with yellow-colored plaster. Both, the brick tower and the chancel were designed by the Stockholm architect Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, the one who's also responsible for the creation of the Drottningholm Theater and parts of Stockholm's Castle. The altarpiece was designed by Louis Jean Desprez, and the chancel windows by Reinhold Callmander.

The church boasts an impressive carillon, built in 1961, with 42 bells in it. The largest of them was originally cast in Stockholm in 1687 and transported to Gothenburg by crown carriage. The third bell in order came in 1645; it was a gift from Governor Nils Assersson Mannersköld and Admiral Martin (Thyssens) Anckarhjelm. Unfortunately, all the bells melted in the fire of 1746, and were recast later on. On the large bell there is an inscription in Latin and German that reads:

Glory be to God in the high
It was fire that disturbed my roaring
When the city heard me with terror
A:o 1746 D 14 Jan
Fire gave me sound and clang again
A:o 1746 D 29 Aug
Learn dear Gothenburger all
The one with fire should read — know
Then I would like to burn it up
2 Pet. 3: v. 10
Today you hear, today read, David's clock,
Yes, let God's voice lure you
Your heart, o man, not to harden
Ps. XCV, v. 8th
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Kronhuset (Crown House)

5) Kronhuset (Crown House)

Kronhuset ('the Crown House' in English), formerly known as Giötheborgz Tyghuhs ('Gothenburg's Arsenal'), is a redbrick building in Västra Nordstaden in Gothenburg. It was constructed during the years 1643–1654 in a Dutch style, and is Gothenburg's joint-oldest secular building along with the Torstenson Palace (constructed 1648–1650). The royal architect Simon de la Vallée is believed to have designed the building.

The Kronhus was originally used as an arsenal for the city garrison and as a granary to store food reserves so that the city could survive a siege. On December 9, 1927, the ownership of Kronhuset passed from the Swedish state to Gothenburg Municipality.

It has been a byggnadsminne, a listed building, since 24 October 1968.

The construction of the house has a Dutch influence, in that the Rikssal, which comprises the bottom floor, has no load-bearing pillars at all. The roof of the lower floor, as well as all the joists lying on top of it, hang in the roof truss structure, which in turn rests on and in the masonry. The Flemish tapestry, woven in Brussels around 1690, was donated at the rededication of director Osvald Arnulf-Olsson.

In the 18th century walled some windows were rebuilt and the others were fitted with shutters. In the 19th century, a couple of wooden emblems were erected on the south side of the house, which most likely came from the demolished Kungsporten.

Kronhusbodarna ('the Crown House sheds') are a collection of eighteenth-century buildings, all painted bright yellow, which ring the courtyard in front of the Kronhus. They have also been recognised as listed buildings since 24 October 1968. The sheds were restored and reopened to private tenants in 1971. Current tenants include shops selling pottery, glassware, leather products and interior furnishings, as well as a watchmaker and a cafe. An annual arts and crafts market has been held in the courtyard in front of the sheds since the early 2000s.

Kronhusparken is a small park at the back of Kronhusbodarna, laid out in 1930 and renovated in 1964 after the city acquired the property. The park covers about 2000 square meters. In the park stands a bust of the poet Johan Anders Wadman, who lived in Gothenburg 1814–1838, sculpted by Johan Peter Molin.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Gothenburg Cathedral

6) Gothenburg Cathedral

A church has stood on this site since the early 1600s. The initial small rectory was Gothenburg's first church and one of the new city's first buildings. Construction on the first cathedral began in 1626 and was completed in 1633. The church was designated as a cathedral in the 1680s.

Gothenburg Cathedral burned during a fire on April 15, 1721. However, the original walls survived the fire, and officials quickly rebuilt the cathedral. The cathedral was rebuilt with the same dimensions and reopened on May 25, 1722. Renovations and upgrades continued with a new copper roof and tower capital.

Another terrible fire burned the cathedral on December 20, 1802. This fire also destroyed 179 houses in addition to the cathedral's cemetery. The cathedral was so damaged that a complete rebuild was necessary. The current cathedral was completed in 1815. The tower was built in 1825, and its copper cladding was complete in time for the second inauguration in 1827.

The current cathedral features classical architecture. The impressive main portal features four Doric columns. The interior features classical and Empire style. Many interior fittings, including the pulpit, feature Empire-style white and gold leaves.

The cathedral has classical-style ionic pilasters. The altar's 18th-century angelic figures feature Baroque styling. Gothenburg Cathedral was Sweden's first church to have central heating in 1852.

The cathedral's grandfather clock was built in 1751 and survived the 1802 fire. The organ was made 1962 but features a traditional white and gold facade. The cathedral's tower began to lean in the early 20th century and was reinforced.
St. Andrew's Church

7) St. Andrew's Church

St. Andrew's Church is part of the Church of England and was consecrated in 1857. There has been a Church of England congregation in Gothenburg for centuries. From 1747 to 1883, foreigners living in Gothenburg could register births, deaths, and marriages with the Gothenburg English Parish. Parishioners met at a local house, and an English priest performed services.

Swedish architect Adolf Wilhelm Edelsvard designed St. Andrew's Church. Half of the construction funds came from the Church of England, and half came from local parishioners. The facade is neo-Gothic and made with yellow brick and sandstone.

Stained glass windows depict Matthew, Mark, Paul, Peter, and John. These windows were designed and crafted in Scotland. The 14-stop organ was inaugurated in 1862.

St. Andrew's Church has services in English every Sunday.
Feskekôrka (Fish Church)

8) Feskekôrka (Fish Church)

Don't be fooled by its name, Fish Church is not a church, rather an indoor fish market housed in a building that looks like a Neo-Gothic church. Fish Church opened in 1874 to house the city's vibrant fish trade. Fishing is one of Gothenburg's oldest and most enduring trades. Visitors can buy fish that was swimming in the sea just a few hours earlier.

The market features fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. Vendors also serve ready-to-eat snacks and prepared dishes.

In addition to the fish market, Fish Church houses a seafood restaurant. The restaurant has outdoor seating with a view of the Rosenlunds Canal.

Swedish architect Victor von Gegerfelt designed fish Church. At the time, this building was considered futuristic. The interior's large hall doesn't have supporting pillars or walls as the roof's substructure provides the building's support. The building was originally called Fish Hall. However, residents quickly renamed it due to its resemblance to a church.
Hagabadet (Haga Baths)

9) Hagabadet (Haga Baths)

Hagabadet is a bathing facility in the district Haga in Gothenburg dating from the 1870s. The bath became a listed building on August 25, 1997, as it was considered to have "... great social-historical value by illuminating the living conditions and social conditions of the time".

The facility was originally built as Renströmska Bad- och tvättanstalten after Sven Renström in 1869 donated funds to the city of Gothenburg for "promotion of good looks, health and health care". The building was designed by Axel Kumlien with the city architect Victor von Gegerfelt as assistant. It was developed in consultation with Professor Carl Curman , who was the foremost expert in balneology at the time . The facility was inaugurated on December 9, 1876. It then consisted of a simple tub in a second-class department facing Haga Östergata and an elegant first-class department facing Södra Allégatan .

The middle part of the bath was destroyed in a fire in 1903. A new building was made according to drawings by Wilhelm Klemming , who previously participated in the construction of Sturebadet and Centralbadet in Stockholm. With this, the bath got a large swimming pool. Over the years, however, the spaces were considered too cramped and in connection with the modern Valhallabadet opening in 1956, Renströmska was closed. The building was then used as a theater, workshop and venue for club events.

In the 1970s, the building was part of the conservation project for the Haga district, where the bath has long been seen as an essential part. Since the reopening in 1997 under the current name, in addition to the bath, there have been departments for, among other things, wellness, spa, conference and a restaurant
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Robert Dickson Foundation

10) Robert Dickson Foundation

The Robert Dickson Foundation is a Swedish housing foundation that was founded in Gothenburg in 1860 on the initiative of the industrialist and patron Robert Dickson (1782–1858). The foundation is still active and has 900 rental apartments.

On December 17, 1847, the magistrate first approved drawings for two different types of houses, designed by the city architect Heinrich Kaufmann. In July 1849, the 10 one-storey houses were ready and rented out (demolished in 1896). When further rental applications from 39 households were received, the board therefore requested that a new plot of land be designated for the construction of more houses.

On 16 May 1856, more plots of land were handed over to the board within two blocks. The board immediately decided to build one block of the leased area and architect Adolf W. Edelsvärdwas commissioned to make drawings for suitable stone buildings as well as a cost proposal. These drawings were approved by the magistrate on September 5, 1856.

Through donations during the 1850s by Robert Dickson and his sons new homes could be built. This is one of the buildings intended for the working class. It was built in red brick in a Neoclassical revival style.

At a joint meeting with the boards of the workers' housing and Carl Johan's parish, a proposal was hammered out for a foundation called Robert Dickson's foundation , which was approved by King Maj on 31 July 1860.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Skansen Kronan (Crown Sconce)

11) Skansen Kronan (Crown Sconce)

Skansen Kronan ("the Crown Sconce") is located in the Haga district of Gothenburg. The fortress and its twin, Skansen Lejonet, were built to protect the city of Gothenburg against possible Danish attack, and thus had a similar purpose to the sea fort of New Älvsborg, which was built around the same time.

The city of Gothenburg was founded in 1621. The new settlement was equipped with an impressive network of fortifications, but military engineers were concerned by the fact that the city was overlooked by two hills, the Gullberg and the Risåsberg, and so it was decided to construct forts on both hilltops in order to prevent potential attackers from siting artillery there. The two forts were designed by Erik Dahlbergh, with the one on the Risåsberg being named Skansen Kronan and the one on the Gullberg being named Skansen Lejonet.

Work began on Skansen Kronan in 1687, and the fort was officially commissioned in 1698 and equipped with 23 guns, though the roof was not actually completed until 1700. It has 4-5 metre thick walls made of granite, gneiss and diabase. Skansen Kronan was never attacked, and the cannons were never fired in anger.

Around the year 1900 it was decided to turn the fortress into a military museum, which opened on 23 November 1904. The museum closed in September 2004, and its collections were transferred to the Museum of Gothenburg.

Skansen Kronan was recognised as a listed building in 1935.

At the time of its construction, Skansen Kronan was located outside the city walls, but the hill was later swallowed up by urban sprawl, becoming part of Haga in west-central Gothenburg. Today Skansen Kronan is privately-owned and used as a venue for conferences and private parties.

Apart from being an interesting historical landmark, the old fortification offers a striking view of the city.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Gothenburg, Sweden

Create Your Own Walk in Gothenburg

Create Your Own Walk in Gothenburg

Creating your own self-guided walk in Gothenburg is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Gothenburg Introduction Walking Tour

Gothenburg Introduction Walking Tour

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city. Its river-side location has been vital in its development from a trading colony to a modern, vibrant city. Today, Gothenburg is known for its culture, fabulous cuisine, and international flair.

Gothenburg was founded in 1621 by King Gustavus Adolphus. The king gave generous tax cuts to Dutch allies and encouraged German and Scottish residents to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles