In Swedish Lapland you will have the opportunity to discover three World Heritage Sites. They include the Laponia Area spanning four National Parks and two nature reserves, the Struve Geodetic Arc in Jupukka Nature Reserve in Tornedalen – and the Church Village of Gammelstad outside of Luleå.
Not many people know that the city of Luleå has not always been where it is today. Gammelstad, outside Luleå on the road to Boden, used to be the city centre up until the 17th century, before it was moved closer to the sea and the harbour where it lies today. When the city moved, it was named the New City of Luleå (Luleå Nya Stad) and the old one became The Old City of Luleå (Luleå Gamla Stad). The names were soon shortened to Luleå and Gammelstad respectively.
Gammelstad is home to a unique cultural environment.
Gammelstad is home to a unique cultural environment. Here you can find the largest late medieval stone church in Northern Sweden, from 1492 and the largest and most well-preserved church town in Sweden with more than 400 church cottages, homes and parish warehouses. This was where Luleå grew from a small church town and trading place into a real city.
The church cottages were built by local farmers in a time when attendance at church services was mandatory and the great distances in Northern Sweden made one-day visits impossible. However, Gammelstad was not only visited for these reasons, social gatherings were also important. During the church weekends, the alleys were crowded with people in weekend dress, the church bells rang, and friendships were made, maintained and broken.