This blog will be sleeping for a couple of days! I’ll be back soon with Stockholm Church Walk part II!
Monthly Archives: July 2011
Today’s upload is another spotting of a monument to a king in Stockholm. This statue pictures Gustav I or as he is commonly known in Sweden as Gustav Vasa. The statue is located in front of Riddarhuset, the Swedish House of Nobility or literally the House of Knights. The statue is made by the French sculptor Pierre Hubert L’Archevêque and was uncovered in 1774. Read more about Gustav Vasa below the HDR-picture.
Gustav Vasa is often considered to be the founder of modern Sweden. In the early 1500’s Sweden was under the rule of the Danish king Christian II, better known as Christian the Tyrant. Technically Sweden was still independent but under the Kalmar Union the Scandinavian Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden where united and has the same monarch. Gustav led a rebellion against the hated King Christian II that in 1520 had staged the Stockholm Bloodbath. After the coronation of Christian II as Swedish King he had 82 nobles and clergy, accused for heresy, executed. Among the executed was Gustav’s father Erik Johansson (Vasa).
On the 6th of June 1523 Gustav was elected as King of Sweden at the parliament held in my hometown Stängnäs. As a memory of this occasion our national day is celebrated on this date. Eleven days after being elected as King, Gustav Vasa’s army seized Stockholm and in November the same year he controlled the whole of Sweden. However he was not until 1528 before he was crowned as king in Uppsala’s Cathedral. Under Gustav Vasa’s 37 years regime he introduced hereditary monarchy, centralised government, and Protestantism as religion in Sweden. Despite that Gustav was known for ruthless methods and a bad temperament he’s probably the most well-known among Swedish monarchs and often referred to as “The Father of the Nation”.
I dug in to the archives to find something interesting to load up today. I found this HDR of Sergel’s Square, maybe not one of my best but it will do. Sergel’s Square is one of the most well-known landmarks of Stockholm and maybe because of the sculpture Kristallvertikalaccent in the middle of the fountain. This sculpture popularly called “the Glass Obelisk” was made by Edvin Öhrström and was inaugurated in 1974. The square is named after the Swedish sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel who had his workshop here. I belive this scene would look better as a Blue Hour HDR, maybe I will try that soon.
Yesterday I promised something other than churches in todays upload. In the background you can see the Church of Saint Jacob but the main subject in this HDR is the Monument to Charles XII. However we will visit the Church of Saint Jacob later in Part IV of the Stockholm church walk. I can give you a teaser that it’s a very beautiful church inside. Below the picture you can read about the monument and the Warrior King Charles XII.
It is often said that the history of Sweden is the history of its Kings. Maybe this is true because if you walk around in Stockholm you will find monuments to our Kings everywhere. Actually that would be a good theme to present them all as HDR-pictures here but for now I settle for posting one or two. This monument to Charles XII, Karl XII in Swedish, is located in Kungsträdgården, Stockholm. Charles XII, known as “The Lion of the North” a title he shares with Gustavus Adolphus, spent his whole regime on the battlefield defending the Swedish Empire from a threefold attack made by Denmark, Poland and Russia. In the beginning the brave young Charles was very successful on the battlefield but after 9 years of constant warfare he meet his superior, Peter the Great of Russia, in Poltava. On the 27th of June 1709 the Swedish army, marching towards Moscow, was annihilated and this marked the end of the age as Great Power for Sweden. However Charles managed to escape and after a couple of year in exile in the Ottoman Empire he returned to Sweden just to start a new war against Norway. In his second attempt to conquer Norway, in 1918, he finally meet his fate. Just like Gustavus Adolphus Charles died when his head was penetrated by a projectile. His death is surrounded by uncertainty and it have been suggested that he was murdered by his own men that had grown tired of Charles endless warfare. however it’s most likely that he was hit by a Norwegian bullet. Charles never got married and had no children therefore he was succeeded on the throne of Sweden by his younger sister Ulrika Eleonora .
The monument to Charles XII is made by Johan Peter Molin. Charles points towards east and Russia that always been Sweden’s archrival. Actually there is a popular story among military that “The enemy always comes from east”. In the monument Charles is surrounded by four mortars made in Dresden. The Mortars looks very alike pots and the swedish word for pot, kruka, is synonymous for coward. So the monument is sometimes ironically called “Lejonet omgiven av fyra krukor”, translated to English that would be “The lion surrounded by four cowards. What’s so funny about that??? Well, 100 meters behind there’s another statue of a Swedish King, Charles XIII. Charles XIII is sometimes considered as a coward and his statue is surrounded by four lions. Well It’s not so hard to guess what this statue ironically is called then “Krukan omgiven av fyra lejon”, “The coward surrounded by four lions”. 🙂
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I think that Sofia kyrka is one of the most beautiful churches in Stockholm. This counts for Sophia’s exterior view, the Neo-Romanesque architecture and its magnificent location. However a look inside is IMO a great disappointment and spoils the whole impression of this church. The original look inside by Olle Hjortzberg was radically changed under a major renovation in the end of the 1940’s. Sweden’s leading church architect of that time, Lars Israel Wahlman, led this renovation. He wanted to bring more harmony into the church’s interior and let the details submit to the whole picture. For example, the frescoes of Olle Hjortzberg where painted over, the stained glass window in the altar wall was removed and walled. However was Olle Hjortzberg’s stained glass window preserved and you can now see it in the wall above the organ. The organ itself was manufactured at Magnussons Orgelbyggeri AB in 1951 and has 26 organ stops.
Now we reached the last destination of this walk through the churches of Stockholm Part I. Sofia kyrka is located at Vita Bergen, the White Mountains, 46 meters above sea level. She doesn’t have that long and dramatic history as her sisters of Södermalm, Maria Magdalena and Katarina, but she’s IMO one of the most beautiful churches of Stockholm exteriorly. The Sofia parish was formed in 1917 as a breakout of the neighbouring Katarina parish. But the Church of Sofia was already completed ten years earlier. At the end of the 1800’s the population of the eastern Södermalm has grown so much that the Church of Catherine was to small to accommodate all of them. A place of land at Vita Bergen was chosen and a architectural competition was announced for the design of the new church. Gustaf Hermansson won the competition with a design of a central church, for 1 200 worshipers, inspired by Rhinelandish Neo-Romanesque architecture. The idea of a central church was probably also inspired by its neighbour the Church of Catherine which were the first church of this kind in Sweden. Constructions of the new church begun in 1902 and was completed in 1907. The church is named after Sophia of Nassau Swedish Queen Consort and the wife of King Oscar II.
A last look in the Church of Catherine before we walk on the neighbouring parish Sofia and its magnificent church in Neo-Romanesque style at Vita Bergen. The old altar set was destroyed in the fire 1990. This new one is designed by the sculptor Liss Eriksson and the textile artist Kajsa Melanton and is named “Närvaro genom frånvaro”, Presence by absence. It presents a Calvary scene which contains the cross, the shroud and the crown of thorns. I usually don’t like modern church decorations but the interior of the Church of Catherine is IMO very beautiful!