Stockholm’s Old Town “300 years older”

Many of the buildings in the jewel of Stockholm's historical crown, Gamla stan, or the Old Town, are up to 300 years older than previously thought.

Two researchers working on the ‘Gamla stan building-by-building’ project say that they have identified 18 properties which have been dated incorrectly. They were thought to have been built in the 17th and 18th centuries, but in fact were constructed in the 15th century.

The findings, which Dagens Nyheter described as “sensational”, were the result of five years’ work by a group of enthusiasts who have mapped out two of the most important parts of Gamla stan.

“The written sources, not least the magistrates’ court’s documents from the middle ages, along with detailed inspections of the facades and interiors, have convinced us that the dates were wrong,” said architect Marianne Aaro.

Two areas have been investigated so far: the quarter to the west of Storkyrkan (Stockholm’s cathedral) and Stortorget, and the buildings around Järntorget. One example is Prästgatan 24, whose three lower floors are now thought to have been built in the middle of the 1400s.

Here, according to DN, “Olof the coppersmith had his workshop, with his forge facing Västerlånggatan” – now the main tourist route of Gamla stan.

But the finance for the project, much of which came from the Riksbank’s jubilee fund, only stretched far enough to cover the investigation of 50 of Gamla stan’s 370 properties. Now the researchers are calling for the project to be extended to cover the whole area.

“The City Museum ought to have initiated a big Gamla stan project much earlier,” Marianne Aaro told DN.

“If you don’t know what’s there, you don’t know what is disappearing. Now we have that knowledge and we want to drive the project forward.”

Sources: Dagens Nyheter