The 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 church goers 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.
The church town in winter.
The Hägnan outdoor museum
The Hägnan outdoor museum, located a stone’s throw from the church town, is well worth a visit when you are in Gammelstad. At Hägnan, you will get to see what life was like in a coastal village in this region between the 18th and 20th centuries. The museum contains buildings from all over Swedish Lapland, offering a rich, varied selection of activi ties and experiences for all ages. After enjoying a Swedish fika, a light snack and a beverage, at the Kafé Fägnan, a stroll through the outdoor museum will do you good. Or you could bring your own picnic basket and sit down on the grass. There is a lot to see and you mustn’t miss the store, where you will get to go back in time. The pigs, the goats, the rabbits and the hens are also popular amongst our younger visitors.
GAMMELSTAD CHURCH TOWN. Daily guided tours in summer. An hour-long stroll through the narrow alleys of the church town. You will be visiting a church cottage and, unless it is otherwise occupied, also the beautiful Nederluleå Church.
Book a tour at: www.visitgammelstad.se
THE HÄGNAN. At the Hägnan Outdoor Museum you will find farms from the 18th,
19th and 20th centuries. Come on a guided tour of Hägnan and discover the farms’ history. Selected times and dates available throughout summer
Read more at: www.visitgammelstad.se
AUDIOGUIDE, GO BY YOURSELF. If you would like to go at your own pace, exploring the church town, the audio guide is perfect, with eight recordings detail the history of Gammelstad. Listening and following them on foot takes about an hour.
Rent your audio guide at the Gammelstad Visitor Centre.