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Gammelstad Church Town

Worth preserving

EU - European Region Development Fund

Gammelstad Church Town

Just outside Luleå you will find Gammelstad Church Town, one of Sweden’s World Heritage Sites on UNESCO’s list of places worth preserving. Gammelstad actually used to be Luleå’s town centre up until the 17th century. Then, land uplift made the Gammelstad harbour too shallow, which meant that in 1649 the town had to be moved closer to the coast.

Luleå’s history, however, began in Gammelstad. It was mainly the church, the largest late medieval stone church in Northern Sweden that served as a gathering place for the locals. Amazingly, the church was built in 1492, and is still standing to this day in the very same place. Church cottages were built to house churchgoers who came from far away, as regular church attendance was mandated by law in Sweden. Today, there are over 400 church cottages preserved in Gammelstad Church Town and the tradition of staying overnight lives on.

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