Sigtuna – where Sweden begins
A thousand years ago, King Erik Segersäll realised his bold vision for a new power centre and meeting ground by founding Sigtuna, Sweden's first town. Today, it's a great excursion when visiting today's capital, Stockholm. Combine Viking history with picturesque Swedish atmosphere.
The Magic of being First
From the very beginning, Sigtuna made a habit of being first. Founded around 970 AD, it became an important international trading post and Sweden's first town. As the first modern monarch, Erik strived to form a united country under the new religion Christianity. At the centre of it all was Stora gatan - a bustling main street for all kinds of trade. Around this street a thoroughly planned town was built, rewarding important lords with attractive lots. The city structure is largely preserved to this day.
Some 1,000 inhabitants welcomed traders from such exotic places as Byzantium, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East, which helps to explain why Sigtuna also introduced the first Swedish coins. Skilled coin makers were recruited from Britain to design and produce the first Swedish coin.
The area flourished, and many foreigners are believed to have settled permanently here, sharing their knowledge, crafts, and international network.
Today, Sigtuna is the home of Sweden's largest airport, Stockholm Arlanda Arport.
The wooden buildings along today's main street were built in the 1700s and 1800s. And even today, just like a thousand years ago, the small shops, cafés and restaurants attract visitors from near and far.
P.S Don't miss: Viking poetry
Sigtuna boasts more than 150 runic stones with messages from the Vikings, more than any other town in Sweden! These memorial stones, erected during the 11th century by wealthy citizens and merchant guilds, were usually placed along streets and roads where they would be seen and read by all who passed. At the Tourist Office keys to the runic alphabet can be obtained, for your own efforts at reading these ancient messages. Good Luck!
Photos: Linus Hallgren