Gothenburg, Sweden: The Historic Significance - Day 2

Many people, who are not living in Scandinavian countries probably have not been to Gothenburg, or even heard of the city. However, the city has a rich heritage dating back the Viking age to the present times. Gothenburg has evolved itself from fortified city to an industrial area and tourist destination as it is today. One of the landmarks of Gothenburg is The Lipstick, a building near the port has been one of my last stop in my two-day short stay in the historic city. The Lipstick or Skanskaskrapan located near the Gothenburg Central Station is a symbol of the city's progress. In this blogpost, I will run through the twelve sites I have visited on the second day of my visit and explain their respective historic contribution in Nordic tradition and perhaps world history.

Click here for the first day.

1.    Domkyrkan Göteborg

Considered as an oasis in the middle of a commercial district, the Gothenburg Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The current structure is already the second reconstruction of the original church during the admistration of King Gustav Adolf. It is located near the Kungsgata, which is a street connecting the cathedral to the major city shopping district Nordstan.

In the architectural point of view, the church has been influenced by the Classical and the Empire styles, using a combination of white and gold. Therer are also pilasters and columns surrounding the entire worship area, giving a sense of purity and tranquility to the church's parishioners. Interestingly, the area is an old cemetery that houses dusts of about 20,000 people. The Church is a reminder of the city's past from the great fire that turned the church into destruction and the Dutch settlements during the church's past.

2.    Kungsparken and Rosenlundsbron

Not far from the city center is the King's park. This is a 13-hectare park surrounding the canals, patterned to other Dutch-built cities of Jakarta in Indonesia and Manhattan in New York. The park features pathways and access to the famous Fish Church which is located on the other side of the Rosenlund Bridge. The park is a great reminder of the difficulty of the city's past rulers in building a city on swampy area near at the river delta of Gota.

3.    Hagakyrkan

On one side of the King's Park is the Haga Church, which has been established in the 19th century. It is also great reminder of the Swedish hero Raoul Wallenberg, who saved about 15,000 Hungarian  Jews during the Second World War. Wallenberg was then executed by the Russians for being an alleged spy against them.

4.    Göteborgs universitetsbiblioteket

Outside Haga Church lies a park overlooking the Gothenburg Library of Social Sciences. This library is one of the library complexes of one of the largest Swedish university. The Gothenburg University is also one of the oldest universities in Sweden. It has also gained the reputation as one of the world's best universities. 

5.    Haga Nygata

On the other side of the Gothenburg Library of Social Sciences is the historical street of Haga. Haga is an old neighborhood of Gothenburg dedicated for the working class, so this means that Haga is a symbol of an socio-economic division between the wealth bourgeoisie, who usually lives within the walled city. There are many coffee shops in the area, serving the large cinnamon rolls. This area is currently a place where tourist could buy from dried fruits, special teas and coffees to several varieties of baked products and delicacies.

6.    Skansen Kronan

Within the city district of Haga is a hill top fortress known as Skansen Kronan. This fort system on top of a hill is a tourist area, which was the sole building in the 17th century that is not made of wood made to protect the city against invasion of the Danish in the south.
However, ironically the fort was not used, in spite of a significant number of guns and four-to-five-meter granite wall surrounding the area. 
Going to the hilltop is a challenge, because of 200-step staircase, but the view of the Haga district of Gothenburg is fantastic such that one could easily forget the hard work and patience one has to exert to reach the place. 

7.    Järntorget

Few may have known that Gothenburg is iron trading area and Järntorget or the Iron square is a place where iron merchants gather to weigh iron before heading to the port. The previous huge weighing scale has been demolished leaving a public square, which is currently a major transportation hub of the city. In the middle of the square is an artwork known as De fem världsdelarna or the Five continents representing Asia, America, Europe, Africa and Oceania. This is great reminder of Gothenburg's place not just in Scandinavian history, but also in the world.

8.    Feskerkörka

Adjacent the Iron square is a famous Gothenburg tourist landmark. In the 18th century, Gothenburg is an important Swedish fishing port since the 18th century, so the Fish church has been established. The building is referred to as a church for its resemblance to Gothic church architecture. Today, this stands as a tourist magnet and a fish market at the same time.

9.    Lilla Torget

Not far from the Fish Church is the former Fish square, where fish traders gather in the 18th century. This is the current Little Square, which is located in the Great Harbour Canal. The square features the statue of Jonas Alströmer, who was prominent Swedish figure during the Industrial Revolution, who imported technology from other places to establish his own company in Gothenburg. Alströmer is the Swedish father of craftmanship.

10. Maritiman

Not far from the Great Harbour Canal is the Maritiman. It is a floating maritime museum which features a number of maritime vessels along the mouth of the Gota River. During my visit, it was quite cold in the area, as strong winds hit Gothenburg. Personally, I took the weather as a great analogy of the various maritime battles and difficulties those ships in the maritime museum has endured. 

11. Göteborgsoperan

Completed in 1994, the Gothenburg Opera was inspired by the vision, "Something that makes your mind float over the squiggling landscape like the wings of a seagull." Indeed, the world class opera house shows the Sweden's appreciation of the significance of culture and the arts, which is tells about the identity and customs of its people. 

12. Tanum World Heritage Site

Few hundreds of kilometers in the north of Gothenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Swedish province of Bohus. It features motifs, which are human, animals and boat depictions on rocks that tells about the European life in the Bronze Age.
A special viewing site has also been constructed, which provides a good view of the Swedish landscape. Interestingly, the province has been part of Norway before it was acquired again by Sweden. However, it is evident that the place provides a good evidence of the Vikings in the ancient times.
The motifs has been a symbol of the whole province, which is evidently seen on shopping centers. It is amazing how the Scandinavian people has preserved the area to show the world of a glimpse of their culture, which has an universal significance. 

Ending my two-day stay in Gothenburg was quite memorable. Click here on this link for the first day. With me are the learning about a period of Swedish history that helped shape where the Swedish nation stands today. It is obvious that whatever happened in the past has inspired the Scandinavian people to move forward and improve what their forefathers had done before. 


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