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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

Of Sweden's 71 original church towns, only 16 are left today. The majority...

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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Good for a stop from the highway between north and South of Sweden, or coming from Finland via Tonio

Just happened to pass by looking for a break from long driving. Found this small historic village. Visited the old church. Interesting pulpit from the end of 17th. century. The... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 5 days ago
Hamburg, Germany
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172 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 78: English reviews
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
89 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Just happened to pass by looking for a break from long driving. Found this small historic village. Visited the old church. Interesting pulpit from the end of 17th. century. The tourist shop at the parking lot samples the usual tourist knick knack, but for surprisingly low prices, considering to be in Scandinavia. Also some products of Lapp/Sami origin. Oh well.... More 

Thank Penguin888
Lulea, Sweden
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

A church built the same year Columbus came to america. Fantastic that IT is in such a good shape. ....

Thank Ulf L
Lahti, Finland
Level Contributor
51 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Interesting place. Old buildings, narrow streets, history, beatiful church, outdoor museum and all that for free. Interesting detail is that people actually live there today. So it's a mixture of past and present.

Thank Topi K
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
92 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Gammelstad is a lovely small town a short distance from Lulea. When people travelled long distances to go to the church they often had to stay in one of the small wooden houses. A visitors centre is close to the beautiful stone church and the large collection of timber built houses radiate from it. Many are now holiday homes, one... More 

Thank Geoffrey I
Cricklade, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Had a lovely afternoon here. It is great to visit if you are interested in getting an impression of how historical Sweden. Very interesting walking around the houses which are done up in transitional Swedish style. The restaurant has great food too. Would come back and think this place is great for children too.

Thank Juljen83
Level Contributor
511 reviews
162 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

It had rained all day but we decided to stop by anyway. It is quite impressive to see all these red wooden buildings and imagine the people coming here to church services from so far away. Because of the wet weather, we really did not get out of the car to explore inside any of the buildings nor did we... More 

Thank solomon5
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The place is about 10 minutes taxi drive from Lulea (or 25 minutes by bus). Really lovely and quiet. worth a visit

Thank Einat R
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
336 reviews
131 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2016 via mobile

A classic near the Haparanda border between Sweden and Finland. Over 400 cottages around the church and the bell tower. Nice walks in the streets. The Church Town has never been struck by a major fire, thus becoming the largest and best preserved in the country. A UNESCO World Heritage site.

Thank Peter D
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
558 reviews
418 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 256 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2016

This well preserved town is beautiful. The large church in the centre of town has a beautiful pulpit, the red and white buildings create photogenic streets, you could spend good hour just wondring around. We didn't find it difficult to navigate and we did not even have a map. The information centre also had really helpful staff.

Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2016 via mobile

We hoped on our bikes and cycled out to Gammelstad from Luleå. It took us about an hour of fairly easy cycling along flat cycle paths and was a great way to get to Gammelstad. Visit the information center when you arrive to get maps and an idea of where to go. The history of the town is very interesting... More 

1 Thank Kirsty Y

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