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Wonders of Sweden

The Natural Wonders of Sweden

Sweden, also known as the kingdom of Sweden, in located in northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula and is the 3rd biggest country in the European Union. Its history begins about 12,000 years ago with the Bromme culture that involved bands of reindeer hunters. Their weapons were made from flint, and petroglyphs or rock carvings are located all over Sweden. The inhabitants were for the most part, hunters, fishermen and gatherers or herdsmen. Although Rome tried to conquer this area in 9 A.D. the Germans were able to stop the advance. The Roman influences started becoming evident sometime after this period. The Vikings were strikingly good looking people, tall, blond and ruddy, according to early accounts. Unfortunately, there is not much of the written word. They were strong and courageous fighters and voracious explorers, going various places to trade; since metals were not mined in their country. Between 800 and 1000 there was much trade for silver and in 829, Christianity was introduced to the pagan populace. The Swedes were great ship builders which helped them to travel for trade, as well as raiding many countries for slaves and workers. There is an abundance of wood in Sweden available for the great ships called longboats with carvings on the bow and stern. Remains of enormous ship building yards and handicrafts have been found in the country. Christianity became the main religion about 1050 and Sweden was recognized as a Christian country. Sweden was devastated in the 14th century as the black death, as bubonic plague was known, killed many thousands. In 1523, Gustav Vasa was made king and this was thought to be the beginning of modern Sweden, with Gustav becoming the father of the nation.

Up until the 17th century, Sweden was relatively poor, thinly populated country, without any real power or name. Then during the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, many military expeditions created a leader of all the Protestant nations until 1721. After many wars, Sweden lost its eastern territory to Russia which later became Finland, and part of the Russian empire.  During the 18th and 19th centuries, the population in Sweden almost doubled due to the peace, potatoes and smallpox vaccine. However, also during this time many Swedes emigrated to the United States and Canada, with the belief that more than 1 million left during the period from 1850 to 1910. The country was mainly an agricultural domain and with little if any industry growth, while the countries around it began to industrialize.

Although the country's industries were not growing as fast or as big as the rest of the world, in the 18th century, Sweden's scientific inventions were outpacing many countries. In fact, if any business was able to talk about its tremendous influence and growth, it would be the research and development aspects. This in turn allowed the country to experience growth and wealth it wasn't used to. With inventions coming out of the country like no other, more funds were allocated to the r&d of innovations, especially in the areas of science, medicine and pharmaceuticals. Today it is one of the leaders in investments in science and technology, and also its manufacture of pharmaceuticals and telecommunications.

It was during the 18th century that the revolution began in Sweden, with the creation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, including members like Carolus Linnaeus and Anders Celsius. In the late 1800s, engineers were being raised with unprecedented numbers, and were becoming heroes of the day. Gustaf Dalen founded AGA, an international conglomerate still in operations today. He received the Nobel for his sun valve. And speaking of the Nobel, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and started the Nobel prizes. Lars Ericcson started his company, which is one of the largest telecommunications company in the world today. Wenstrom was an early inventor in AC and with fellow inventor Tesla created the 3 phrase electrical system.

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Tours in Sweden

Tours in Sweden

Sweden is rich in history and culture, which make it a wonderful country to travel in and visit. One of the most interesting and popular is the island of Oland with its fantastic landscape. There on the island are 19 ringforts, with only one having been extensively excavated called Eketorp, with over 24,000 ancient relics being unearthed. Evidence has said that the island was settled sometime in the year 8000 B.C. It is the second largest island of the country. Other ancient towns were Birka and Hovgardent in the islands Bjorko and Adelso in Malaren nearby to Stockholm. And speaking of Stockholm, an area that has to be visited is the Gamla stan or when translated old town, where the narrow cobblestone thoroughfares from the 17th century, are lined with unique antique shops, cafes, bookstores of the rarest, jewelry and souvenirs.

On her first voyage, the warship Vasa sailed from Stockholm, in 1628 and sank. She was found and salvaged in 1961 and is the only 17th century vessel museum viewable for 6 levels. Its origins are shown with exhibitions, movies and slide shows. Opened in 1883, Tivoli Grona Lund amusement park was opened and still brings in the thousands every summer. Located south of the city, and visible on the horizon, is Globen, the biggest spherical structure in the world.

Dating back to the 13th century is the King's official residence the Kungliga Slottet, is in the old town area. The next palace was built in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in Roman Baroque design and holding over 600 rooms, is one of the biggest castles in Europe today. Here you find treasures of impressive magnitude located in one of the many museums: the Treasury, Royal Chapel, or the Museum of Antiquities with relics of various beauty and extravagance. The official changing of the guard is as impressive as the one in London. The National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm is the biggest in Sweden with its start in the 16th century and still acquiring fine objects de art today. The incredible art collection houses works of Gaugin, Zorn, Larsson, Renoir, Boucher, Degas, Rembrandt and Rubens. It also has magnificent exhibits of handicrafts, engravings and drawings. In the Historical Museum you will find relics of the stone age, bronze age gold treasures and awesome sculptures from the 12th century. It tells of the turbulent Vikings and their marauding history throughout the coasts of Europe.

Throughout Goteborg, or Gothenburg, trams are a wonderful way to travel and see the sights. Moving slowly from one historical venue to another, visitors and riders are giving ample time to see the spectacular sights and decide which ones to spend more time delving into. The biggest botanical garden, Botaniska Tradgarden, is located in Gothenburg and over 12000 species of plants are grown here including; greenhouses, a rock garden, arboretum, Japanese valley, herb garden, bulb garden and bamboo grove. Built in 1641, Skansen Krona fortress was designed to keep the Danish people from invading Sweden. It was constructed atop a hill and has a fantastic view of the city below, and houses an awesome military museum. On its way home from gathering spices and porcelain in the orient, the ship Gotheborg was sunk just outside the city. In 1980, divers were able to salvage some of the cargo and a decision to rebuilt the ship was hatched. An exact copy of the ship is being built in an abandoned shipyard and will set sail to the orient when it is finished. It was started in the 1990s and after being shown in Europe will sail the original course to China and return.

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Things to do in Sweden

Things to do in Sweden

In the oldest area of Gothenburg, you will come across Haga Nygatan, the oldest area of the city going back to the 1640s. Here you will find fantastic antique shops, bookstores, art collections and craft shops. Just a few minutes from the town's center, is the natural forest called Anggardsbergen, in the city limits. The park has some grand tracks for running, walking or biking, beautiful lakes and shelters with fire wood. A wonderful place to relax and unwind after a hectic day of seeing some of the best Gothenburg has to offer. They even have areas to barbeque and smell the flowers from the botanical garden.  The Gothenburg Museum of Art or the Goteborgs Konstmuseum, contains Nordic art from the 15th to the 20th century and is a marvel of the artistic history of this country. The museum also has paintings by Manet, Monet and van Gogh, as well as some beautiful sculpting.

Sweden is a wonderful surprise for the modern traveler with great highways, ferries, airports and awesome railroads. It is not overly populated which gives the visitor limitless miles of undisturbed vistas of land, lakes and mountains. Tourists sometimes think that the country and its culture are exotic, while it is considered a safer country to travel than much of the rest of Europe, since it doesn't have any natural disasters, nor political upheavals. The capital city, Stockholm sits abreast 14 islands and the water has been described as being so pure you can swim and fish in the very center of the city.

In the northern part of Sweden, or Lapland or Norrbotten, Europe's most well preserved wilderness is wide open for the thrill seeking adventurist in us all. A big part of it is located above the artic circle and has hardly any darkness during the summer. In this wild country you will find, dog sledding, fishing, shooting, skiing both cross-country and downhill, hiking over mountains and anything else you can fathom doing in this great adventurous land.  The Ice Hotel in the north is built every year to take guests during the frigid months of the year.

The Operan is home to the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and is the best place to go if you love opera, dance or theater. There are shows almost every night of the week, so you won't be disappointed.  Visby contains a marvelous example of a medieval township in northern Europe, where the square is the same it was hundreds of years ago, as well as buildings and alleys; with the original stone wall surrounding the town still intact.

A very unusual way to explore and sight see the city of Stockholm is by canoe.  Since it is built upon islands stretching across the waters, this mode of travel can be as exciting and exhilarating as any you will visit anywhere in the world. 

With over 200 listings of things to do in just Stockholm alone, you won't have any problems keeping very busy and occupied in Sweden. Stockholm has 59 museums and 80 attractions to dazzle your mind and body. Gothenburg lists over 30 things to do. The Swedish cuisine is varied because of the large distance between north and south. In the colder north, where it is more difficult to grow fruits and vegetables, fish and game are the main fare, with reindeer being a leading meat source. Fish is as important as is its history. Living on the water and having a cold environment the north found curing fish with salt to be the best remedy and salt became an important commodity for trade. Breads of all shapes, sizes and tastes have evolved over the years and are a main staple in the diet.