Midwinter Lule Gammelstad.
Sent by Anna from Luleå, Sweden.
Luleå Gammelstad is a remarkable example of the traditional church town of northern Scandinavia, and illustrates the adaptation of conventional urban design to the special geographical and climatic conditions of a hostile natural environment. It is a type of milieu that has been shaped by people's religious and social needs rather than economic and geographical forces, being intended for use only during weekends and church festivals.
The Luleå river and its valley have provided a route between the Gulf of Bothnia and the mountains of Lapland, and beyond to the coast of northern Norway, from earliest times. Agricultural villages were established on the fertile lands as early as the 13th century, when the Swedish-Finnish kingdom expanded into this region as an act of deliberate colonization, to counteract Russian pressure. The size of the 14th century stone church of Gammelstad testifies to the prosperity of the region. (read further)