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“Walking in a Living Past” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Gammelstad Church Town

Gammelstad Church Town
Kyrktorget 1, Lulea 954 33, Sweden
+46 920 45 70 10
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Ranked #1 of 14 things to do in Lulea
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: 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.
Pavia, Italy
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Walking in a Living Past”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

By the end of July and the beginning of August 2012, I and a friend of mine, we decided to film along the Midnight Sun Road. The starting point of this first session of shootings was the old Gammelstad - Church town listed in the UNESCO Heritage list. This old parish worth a visit for many reasons...one is that if you don't check your watch and forget some cars' engine buzz you feel walking in the past. The Church when we arrived was closed to visits, because in spite of economic crisis at the time there were several marriages scheduled all along the day. I didn't have the chance to get into but the friend of mine knew it from his childhood. We had a short meeting with a guide to learn a llittle about church's history and then we strolled along the old streets. Very interesting is the visit we paid to the nearby house museum where is possible to see old fashioned furniture and more of the times just bygone. We suggest to book in advance a guided visit which let you know more than you can draw by yourself. After, paying the visit to this church you can have a relax holiday at the near beach in Piteå, which is just some km away. Otherwise, you can do like us and discover the main attractions along the Midnight Sun Road, a well paved road that from here drive across the village of Jokkmokk, Gallivare, Jukkasjarvi, Kiruna, Karesuando, Hetta, Kautokeino, Alta till Nordkapp (North Cape)...Yes, it's a long driving but can you imagine visit it during the June-July period when the sun never set?

Visited August 2012
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
14 attraction reviews
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“A Beautiful and Fascinating Place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

My friends had a their wedding at the church in Gammelstad. I was unfamiliar with the Swedish tradition of "church towns". The Church and surrounding village are definitely worth the trip if your in the area. It deserves it's UNESCO status.

Visited July 2012
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great to visit in winter too”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013 via mobile

We visited on a bright, sunny, but cold winter's day. A great morning out, easily reached from the centre of town by the bus which runs every hour from Smedjegatan. Both th church and the visitor centre were open, and the film show at the latter gave an interesting and very adequate introduction to the history behind the town. And the warming coffee at Margareta's Vardshus with it's quaint interior was a wonderful way to wait for the bus back.

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Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
8 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Gammalstad”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

I was fortunate enough to attend a lovely wedding at this stunning church in the centre of Gammalstad which is a very picturesque village and particularly so at this time of the year when everywhere is covered in snow. A fairyland setting.

Try the the local Artic Berry jam (åkebär).

Visited February 2013
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Vindeln, Sweden
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Unesco a go-go”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

Fascinating village, lovely to walk round, and we had an excellent multi-lingual guide. The residents allow you to look round their little houses. Museum explaining the history is very good. Best visited in the long summer days.

Visited June 2012
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