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Gammelstad Church Town

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Address: Kyrktorget 1, Lulea 954 33, Sweden
Phone Number: +46 920 45 70 10
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Of Sweden's 71 original church towns, only 16 are left today. The...

Of Sweden's 71 original church towns, only 16 are left today. The majority of these have been reduced to a remnant. Gammelstad has the country's largest and best preserved church town with 408 cottages comprising 553 rooms.

The church town presumably arose from a combination of several factors: the long distances, merchants' needs for storage and accommodation at the marketplace, the church stables and last but not least the population's duty to attend church regularly.

The oldest mention of Gammelstad Church Town is in Johannes Bureus' depiction of his visit here at Christmas 1600: "All farmers have their cottages near the church at a place they call The Hill". Unfortunately Bureus does not mention the age of the church town, but the first cottages were presumably built in the mid-16th century.

Gammelstad Church Town was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 7 December, 1996.The World Heritage Committee's reasoning was as follows:

"Gammelstad Church Town is a remarkable example of the traditional church town of northern Scandinavia. It admirably illustrates the adaptation of conventional urban design to the special geographical and climatic conditions of a hostile natural environment."

The World Heritage area includes the church itself, surrounded by the Church Town, the well-to-do areas, the public buildings and certain sections of the more recent permanent buildings.The church town tradition, i.E. The custom of spending the night in church cottages in connection with church weekends, was a decisive factor for conferring world heritage status.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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    Very good
  • 10
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  • 0
Cozy in the summer and winter!

A great place with an old history! There's some shops with beautiful things, open in the summer and winter. There's also some cafés, which is very cozy and not so expensive. Bring... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 4 weeks ago
Stockholm, Sweden
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122 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
37 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

A great place with an old history! There's some shops with beautiful things, open in the summer and winter. There's also some cafés, which is very cozy and not so expensive. Bring your kids in the summer, because there's horses, pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens etc. During the winter in December, there's a Christmas market, which is fantastic! You can buy... More 

Thank dytt65
Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Level Contributor
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 weeks ago

Because of the small number of tourists, this guide tour is just made once a week and the visitor center has restricted time. The guide was really interested and made a very clear description and a good explanation about the place, the start of Lulea. It was supposed to be just 1 hour, but we were so excited that we... More 

Thank Anneliese B
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2015

Unfortunately there wasn't anything open when we went to Gammelstad, but what a lovely little place! Despite the freezing cold we had a nice walk around some of the streets. I think it would be a great place to spend some time in the warmer months, but also in the winter if you could be sure to go on a... More 

1 Thank Leigh H
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
108 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2015

The Church village consists of several small houses where people could spend the night in the past before or after going to church. We were there on a sunny day and could stroll among the houses. Very nice. No charge. A shop and parkingplace in the area.

1 Thank Ingrid49_12
Oulu, Finland
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2015

The place is well worth the visit. There's also plenty of events to see, like the flea-market on Saturdays.

1 Thank Anu H
St. Petersburg, Russia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2015

The church town is a unique artifact of traditional Swedish culture for more than 500 years when people were obliged to visit church on weekends. As Swedish population was never dense and trips to church often long, especially in the North, people had to have a place to stay for weekend. There they stayed and socialized, it was a place... More 

1 Thank ignatovasofiya
Level Contributor
97 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2015

The most spectacular spot even in the snow. Even though it was low season the little museum was open and we watched an amazing documentary even the house who are 6 and 7 enjoyed. Lovely little souvenirs genuinely local were picked up at very reasonable prices. But the town is breathtaking. We walked around and built snowmen and saw curvy... More 

1 Thank Serendipitylife
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
296 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2015

I booked a walking tour for 80 SEK, and was the only person on it. The tour guide was very good, and I learnt a lot more about Gammelstad that I thought possible! The town itself is very pretty, and worth a few hours to walk around. The living museum is also worth an hour or so.

1 Thank A380fan
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
156 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 237 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2015

This church and its surrounding collection of small houses still in use is particularly interesting if you know the history of why such clusters developed in the first place. The local TI centre is not very informative, so we were fortunate to visit with a knowledgeable friend. One of the houses was open for visitors and the volunteers there explained... More 

2 Thank RebeccaPeter
Tolmin, Slovenia
Level Contributor
487 reviews
317 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2015 via mobile

This is a very charming village with a church in the middle and a lot of little old houses around the church. Most of them are still very well maintained and some are open, so the visitors can see the furniture of several decades ago.

Thank Soccca

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