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article imageSigtuna: virtually too enjoyable to be a real town Special

By Igor I. Solar     Aug 2, 2011 in Travel
Sigtuna - An easy day trip from Stockholm, the town of Sigtuna has just about everything a nature, history, culture and traditions enthusiast could ever wish to find in one place.
Sigtuna, a little town of about 8000 people on the shores of Lake Mälaren, was founded in the year 980 which makes it the oldest city in Sweden and one of the oldest in Scandinavia. Only Tønsberg, Norway, founded in 871, is older than Sigtuna in the region.
Because the town was the seat of the Kingdom of Sweden and home of King Erik Segersäll a.k.a. “The Victorious”, Sigtuna can be considered as the first capital of Sweden. The city remained as Sweden’s royal, ecclesiastical and commercial center until the late 1200s. Stockholm did not become the administrative and commercial hub of Sweden until about the middle of the 13th Century as a result of the trade activities promoted in the Baltic Sea by the Hanseatic League. Erik’s son, King Olof Skötkonung, also based in Sigtuna, was the first to stamp coins and create a tributary system in Sweden which earned him the nickname “The Treasurer”. Olof the Treasurer was a Christian and became the first Swedish King to remain such until his death for what he merited becoming a Saint of the Catholic Church.
The waterfront of Sigtuna on the shore of Lake Mälaren.
The waterfront of Sigtuna on the shore of Lake Mälaren.
Udo Schröter
A family of ducks crosses a pathway near the shore of Lake Mälaren in Sigtuna.
A family of ducks crosses a pathway near the shore of Lake Mälaren in Sigtuna.
An important feature of Sigtuna is the natural beauty of the town’s shoreline along Lake Mälaren, the third largest inland water body in Sweden and home to a great variety of aquatic birds, including an important population of Canada geese. Sigtuna has many interesting places to offer to visitors. Stora Gatan, the oldest commercial street in Sweden is the town’s main shopping area with colourful, wooden old-style buildings selling fashions, handicrafts, souvenirs and more. There are museums, coffee shops and restaurants serving classical local cuisine and international fare from Pizza to Sushi.
Sigtuna. Stora Gatan  the oldest commercial street in Sweden is the town’s main shopping area.
Sigtuna. Stora Gatan, the oldest commercial street in Sweden is the town’s main shopping area.
The ruins of St. Olof’s Church in Sigtuna date from the XII Century. It s one of the three major r...
The ruins of St. Olof’s Church in Sigtuna date from the XII Century. It's one of the three major ruins of old Christian churches still left in Sigtuna. An old cemetery surrounds the ruins.
Very important among the attractions are the old stone ruins of three Christian churches, St. Olaf, St. Peter and St Lawrence, dating from the middle Ages. There are over 100 rune stones with memorial inscriptions in Old Norse, left here by the Viking expeditions and by wealthy merchants. Equally interesting is St. Mary’s Church, one of the oldest brick churches in the Lake Mälaren Valley and the oldest building in Sigtuna still in use. The ancient Dominican church contains many medieval mural paintings which were restored in the early XX Century.
Runestone with memorial inscription in Old Norse language located near St. Mary s Church in Sigtuna.
Runestone with memorial inscription in Old Norse language located near St. Mary's Church in Sigtuna.
Hegvald
Sigtuna. St. Mary’s Church is one of the oldest brick churches in the Lake Mälaren Valley and the...
Sigtuna. St. Mary’s Church is one of the oldest brick churches in the Lake Mälaren Valley and the oldest building in Sigtuna still in use.It was built in the mid XIII Century.
No visit to Sigtuna would be complete without a visit to Tant Bruns Kaffestuga (Aunt Brown Coffee Shop) a delightful cottage in a XVII Century setting where Aunt Brown herself waits at the gate to welcome guests into a charming courtyard.
Aunt Brown at the entrance of Tant Bruns Coffee Shop in Sigtuna. Aunt Brown  Aunt Green and Aunt Gre...
Aunt Brown at the entrance of Tant Bruns Coffee Shop in Sigtuna. Aunt Brown, Aunt Green and Aunt Gredelin are characters in a series of children’s books written by Elsa Beskow, published between 1918 and 1947. The three ladies are believed to represent three different types of women: Aunt Brown is maternal and domestic and manages the kitchen, while Aunt Green works in the garden and Aunt Gredelin sits in the lounge and works in embroidery.
Raphael Saulus
Sigtuna is about 50 kilometres northwest of Stockholm and about 12 km from Arlanda International Airport. It is such a delightful little town that some naive visitors may believe it’s some sort of a theme park. Camilla Zedendahl, journalist and managing director of Sigtuna Tourism, tells the story of a visitor who asked her the question: “When do you close for winter?”
More about Sigtuna, Sweden, Lake Mälaren, Christian Churches, Rune stones
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