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Stockholm is the largest city and capital of Sweden. It is the site of the national Swedish government, the parliament, and the official residence of the Swedish monarch.

Stockholm has been the political and economic centre of Sweden since the 13th century. The metropolitan area of Stockholm has a population of almost 2 million. Its strategic location on several islands on the east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has been historically important. Since Stockholm is built on islands, tourist interests have tried to popularize the appellation "The Venice of the North".




The location appears in Norse sagas as Agnafit, and especially in connection with the legendary king Agne. The earliest mention of Stockholm in writing dates from 1252. Stockholm's core, the present Old Town (Gamla Stan) was built on the central island next to Helgeandsholmen between 1300 and 1500. The city originally rose to prominence as a result of the Baltic trade of the Hanseatic League.

The strategic and economic importance of the city made Stockholm an important factor in relations between the Danish Kings of the Kalmar Union and the national independence movement in the 15th century.

Gamla stan - Old town

Gamla stan consists primarily of the island Stadsholmen. The surrounding islets Riddarholmen, Helgeandsholmen, and Strömsborg are officially part of, but not colloquially included in, Gamla stan. The town dates back to the 13th century, and consists of medieval alleyways, cobbled streets, and archaic architecture, and in included in the UNESCO's World Heritage list. North German architecture has had a strong influence in the Old Town's construction.

Stortorget is the name of the scenic large square in the centre of Gamla Stan, which is surrounded by old merchant's houses including the Stockholm Stock Exchange Building. The square was the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath, where Swedish noblemen were massacred by the Danish King Christian II in November, 1520. The following revolt and civil war led to the dissolution of the Kalmar Union and the subsequent election of King Gustav I.

As well as being home to the Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Museum, and the Riddarholm church, Gamla stan also boasts Kungliga slottet, Sweden's baroque Royal Palace, built in the 18th century after the previous palace Tre Kronor burned down. The House of Knights is on the north-western corner of Gamla stan.

More info about Stockholm: Wikipedia
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