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Gammelstad Church Town

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Address: 1 Kyrktorget, Lulea 954 33, Sweden
Phone Number:
+46 920 45 70 10

Of Sweden's 71 original church towns, only 16 are left today. The majority...

Of Sweden's 71 original church towns, only 16 are left today. The majority of these have been reduced to a remnant. Gammelstad has the country's largest and best preserved church town with 408 cottages comprising 553 rooms.

The church town presumably arose from a combination of several factors: the long distances, merchants' needs for storage and accommodation at the marketplace, the church stables and last but not least the population's duty to attend church regularly.

The oldest mention of Gammelstad Church Town is in Johannes Bureus' depiction of his visit here at Christmas 1600: "All farmers have their cottages near the church at a place they call The Hill". Unfortunately Bureus does not mention the age of the church town, but the first cottages were presumably built in the mid-16th century.

Gammelstad Church Town was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 7 December, 1996.The World Heritage Committee's reasoning was as follows:

"Gammelstad Church Town is a remarkable example of the traditional church town of northern Scandinavia. It admirably illustrates the adaptation of conventional urban design to the special geographical and climatic conditions of a hostile natural environment."

The World Heritage area includes the church itself, surrounded by the Church Town, the well-to-do areas, the public buildings and certain sections of the more recent permanent buildings.The church town tradition, i.E. The custom of spending the night in church cottages in connection with church weekends, was a decisive factor for conferring world heritage status.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Nice short visit

Visited gammelstad without much expectations but luckily there was a retired guide lady that explained all the history of the church and the town itself. Turned out to be very... read more

Reviewed 14 March 2017
Gonçalo C
Lisbon, Portugal
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239 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 94: English reviews
Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2017

Visited gammelstad without much expectations but luckily there was a retired guide lady that explained all the history of the church and the town itself. Turned out to be very interesting.

Thank Gonçalo C
Lombard, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2017 via mobile

We we're fortunate enough to be visiting this place with native Swedes, so we got a better understanding than probably if you went on your own. You're free to just walk around the village and take lots of pictures of the pristine red houses and the beautiful, ornate church at the center of it all. Our kids (8 & 11)... More 

Thank RRG16
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2017

Historic area in scenic area. Photographic experience. Functional church in use for weddings and routine services. Accessible by hourly bus service from Lulea. Wear gripping shoes in winter.

Thank Mark H
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed 11 February 2017 via mobile

The site looks really lovely, not many people at this time of year, definitely worth visiting. Charming wooden houses and the church above them.

Thank Eliza G
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
154 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2017 via mobile

We visited in January 2017 and the village was pretty deserted but beautiful in the snowy landscape. The cottages are ancient but extremely well preserved. There was a service for a christening in the church and we were able to observe, delightful. We didn't stay long as it was chilly but a very interesting and unusual place.

Thank Rooombiter
Cork, Ireland, Europe
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 January 2017

A small village which is a Unesco world heritage site just outside Lelua, beautiful in summer or winter more so the latter, there is a christmas /Winter market there that is well worth a visit!

Thank ocbears
Lulea, Sweden
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 19 December 2016

You can feel the old Swedish history at this lovelly place. Old small buildings to see that also is on the list of world heritage. Very old and nice fine church to visit. Take your time, have a cup of coffe and just feel the good atmosphere.

Thank kristinanilsson1
Hannover, Germany
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 12 December 2016

Gammelstad Church Town is just outside of downtown Luleå and reachable by a couple of minutes drive from the city center. The Church Town itself consists of plenty of small cottages and cabins along several roads. Most of them painted red (the cottages, that is). There is a museum close to the church which informs about the history of the... More 

Thank A K
Holland, Michigan
Level Contributor
59 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 October 2016

This church from 1492 is impressive and well preserved. The Gammelstad Church Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The stone church is surrounded by 400 quaint cottages that were used for people to stay in who traveled to the church and festivals. We found it interesting and a great place to walk around. We took a city bus from... More 

Thank bobbinrobin41
Jamshedpur, India
2 reviews
Reviewed 26 September 2016

Nice place with quiet atmosphere. Most of the houses were found to be empty. There is a small shop from where one can purchase souvenirs.

Thank erjonynita

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