Posted: Tue, Jul 23, 2013
Heading south, AQ Baltic spent a beautiful day in Kalmar exploring the city and learning as much as we could about the people and culture. Historically, Kalmar was one of the most important cities in Sweden as it was the last stronghold before the border to Denmark, which at the time were located on the Swedish mainland. The castle tower foundations were first built in the 12th century as a fortress to help protect Sweden from the Danish. Renovations and expansions continued throughout the 17th century as the location grew more and more important. Wars were fought between the Swedish and Danish over this area, which led the first King Gustav Vasa and his sons to continue to expand and fortify the castle.
In 1658 the Treaty of Roskilde was signed and the borders of Denmark were pushed roughly to where they lie today. Kalmar gradually lost its importance after the borders were moved and the King moved his main navy base to Karlskrona. After the treaty, Kalmar Slott castle was no longer a critical part of coastal defenses.
After visiting the castle and grabbing some lunch, we walked to the Kalmar Lans Museum, which holds the artifacts found on the royal ship Kronan (Regalskeppt Kronan). The Kronan sank in a naval battle with the Danish in 1676 and was discovered again in 1980 by Anders Franzen, the same man who discovered the Vasa. Kronan was twice the size of Vasa and although not fully intact due to a large explosion during her sinking, over 30,000 artifacts have been excavated and raised for conservation. Artifacts include cannons, clothing, personal items, gold and silver coins, carved statues and much more. The Kronan excavation is an ongoing project that Swedish archaeologists have worked on every summer since 1981. Here are some photos of some of the amazing finds displayed in the Lans Museum:
Stay tuned for our next update from the medieval town of Visby, a Unesco World Heritage Site on the island of Gotland!