Karlskrona (UK: /ˈkɑːrlskrnə/,[2] US: /kɑːrlzˈkrnə/,[3] Swedish: [kaɭsˈkrûːna] ) is a locality and the seat of Karlskrona Municipality, Blekinge County, Sweden with a population of 66,675 in 2018.[1] It is also the capital of Blekinge County. Karlskrona is known as Sweden's only baroque city[4] and is host to Sweden's largest naval base and the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard.

Clockwise from top: Aerial view of Karlskrona; Fredrik Church; Fiskbron; Trinity Church
Coat of arms of Karlskrona
Karlskrona is located in Blekinge
Karlskrona is located in Sweden
Coordinates: 56°9′39″N 15°35′10″E / 56.16083°N 15.58611°E / 56.16083; 15.58611
CountyBlekinge County
MunicipalityKarlskrona Municipality
 • Total21.72 km2 (8.39 sq mi)
16 m (52 ft)
 (31 December 2018)[1]
 • Total66 675
 • Density1,621/km2 (4,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
371 xx
Area code(+46) 455
Official nameNaval Port of Karlskrona
  1. Karlskrona and the Island of Trossö
  2. Mjölnarholmen
  3. Koholmen
  4. Kungshall (Basareholmen)
  5. Godnatt
  6. Kurrholmen
  7. Ljungskär
  8. Crown Mill at Lyckeby (Kronokvarnen)
  9. Kungsholms Fort (Kungsholmen)
  10. Drottningskärs Citadel (Kastellet)
  11. Skärva
CriteriaCultural: (ii)(iv)
Inscription1998 (22nd Session)
Area320.417 ha (1.23714 sq mi)
Buffer zone1,105.077 ha (4.26673 sq mi)

Historically, the city has been home to a German minority,[5] thus enabling the formation of a German Congregational church. It also counted Jewish people in its population.[6]

In 1998, parts of the city, including the Karlskrona naval base, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History Edit

The ruins of Lyckeby Castle in northeastern Karlskrona.

Under Danish rule, the island on which Karlskrona was built, Trossö, was used chiefly for farming and grazing. During the 16th century, it was owned by the farmer Offe Månsson. A couple of kilometers away on the mainland there was another, older town called Lyckeby or Lyckå (today a city district of Karlskrona). In 1599, King Christian IV of Denmark founded a new town, Kristianopel, a little further away. Lyckeby lost its town privileges which were transferred to the new town, and Lyckeby Castle was torn down.

At the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658 during the Second Northern War, Blekinge fell under Swedish rule. In the subsequent years, the Swedish government developed plans to relocate most of the Royal Swedish Navy from the Stockholm area to a more southernly location. At the time Sweden was the dominant military power in the Baltic Sea region, but needed a better strategic location for its navy, as the Swedish fleet tended to get stuck in the ice during winter while located close to Stockholm. It was therefore decided to move it to an ice-free location in the newly conquered province, which also offered a very strategic position against Denmark, and with short sailing distances to Sweden's German and Baltic provinces.

Painting showing the Swedish King Charles XI pointing out the place for "Carls-Croona".

It was decided to base most of the kingdom's fleet on Trossö where a new naval base and city was to be constructed. The location was strategically advantageous on an island in the archipelago with control over the link to the mainland and surrounded by islets where fortifications were erected to protect the naval base. Until 1679, the island and the nearby islets were owned by the farmer Vittus Andersson; he was now forced to sell his properties to the Swedish crown. The same year work on relocating the navy from the Stockholm area to Trossö begun.

The city itself was founded on 10 August 1680.[7] The city's name means Karl's Crown in honour of King Karl XI of Sweden, the name being inspired by the name of the older city of Landskrona in Scania.[8][9] The nearby town of Ronneby was dissolved as a town and its population forced to move to Karlskrona which benefited from several years of customs freedom. Shipbuilders for the shipyards of the new naval base were brought in from Ostrobothnia and Stockholm.

Karlskrona c. 1700. From Suecia antiqua et hodierna.
Historic Map

In 1682, bridges were built that connected the city center with the mainland. The first city plan, drawn up in 1683 by Erik Dahlbergh, Hans Wachtmeister and Carl Magnus Stuart, shows Karlskrona as a pure fortress. The 1694 plan by Erik Dahlberg, which was later followed, also provided space for urban development.[10] The city grew quickly and by 1750 Karlskrona had about 10,000 inhabitants. It was then one of the biggest cities in the country and soon became the kingdom's third largest city, after Riga and Stockholm. Most of the baroque buildings from this era are still standing, which is why the city centre is architecturally uniform.

The shipyard in Karlskrona was established almost at the same time as the city. It was a necessity because of the heavy losses the Swedish navy had suffered in 1659. In 1711, the shipyard was Sweden's largest industrial employer with 1,100 workers. The oldest dock, the Polhem dock, is cut in the cliff itself and is still in use. It got its name from Christopher Polhem ("The Swedish da Vinci", a famous scientist with several inventions still in use). There is also a historical rope making factory, Repslagarbanan, that is now open for guided tour.

Karlskrona developed rapidly, but in the early 18th century stagnation occurred due to war and plagues. 1701 — 1711 died about 7,000 people when the plague struck the city. In 1741 and 1789, the city was again hit by plagues, each claiming 6,000 lives.[10]

When Karlskrona, as a military-closed port city, slowly withered away in step with the Swedish great power, the growth slowed, with the city losing much of its former glory, but it has nevertheless retained its position as a strong naval base. That Karlskrona was intended as a future capital of a great power is noticeable mainly in its central parts where Stortorget follows the ideals of the time for what Europe's great power cities would look like. With its large open piazza where the church, town hall and state administration are located in the outer edges of the square, it follows the baroque pattern. The number of churches and state administration castles also shows the city's intended task. The large military area and the shipyard show that Karlskrona, as the kingdom's southern gate, was long considered a very important city to defend. Even today, operations are conducted at Karlskronavarvet. Karlskrona was thus intended to take over Stockholm's place as the kingdom's capital, but these plans were never realized.

During the years 1910 — 1949, there was electric tram traffic from Amiralitetsgatan in the south to Bergåsa in the north.[11]

The city has kept its street structure since its foundation. Since the streets all follow a grid pattern the winds can blow freely from the sea right into the heart of the city.

Parts of the city (mainly the Naval Port) have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[12]

In October 1981 the Whiskey-class Soviet submarine S-363 (known as "U137" in Sweden) ran aground in the archipelago near Sturkö just outside Karlskrona. The media characterized it as the "Whiskey on the Rocks" affair. The incident caused a temporary rise in tensions between Sweden and the Soviet Union. While the submarine's grounding was inadvertent, and likely the result of inebriation among the crew, the submarine almost certainly was engaged in an unspecified covert mission at the time.

Geography Edit

The city of Karlskrona is spread over 30 islands in the eastern part of Blekinge archipelago, Trossö being the main one.[13] Other populated mentionable islands are Saltö, Sturkö, Hästö, Långö and Aspö. The islet of Stumholmen was formerly property of the Navy and today it houses the National Naval Museum (Marinmuseum). Outside the city lies the archipelago of Karlskrona, the most southern of the Swedish archipelagos. Several islands are connected to the city by ferries.

Climate data for Karlskrona, 2015-2020 Extremes 2015-2020
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 9.4
Average high °C (°F) 4.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.0
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
Record low °C (°F) −10.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 43.3
Source: [14]
Climate data for Karlskrona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average sea temperature °C 3.6
Mean daily daylight hours 8.0 10.0 12.0 15.0 17.0 18.0 17.0 15.0 13.0 11.0 8.0 7.0 12.4
Average Ultraviolet index 0 1 2 4 5 6 6 5 4 2 1 0 3
Source: Weather Atlas[15]

Culture and heritages Edit

The most important day in Karlskrona is the day before midsummer's eve. On that day a big fair takes place and attracts tens of thousands to visit Karlskrona. The fair is called Lövmarknaden (The Leaf Fair) and is very popular among the locals.

The main square of Karlskrona is the biggest in Scandinavia.

Every year in late July/early August a popular festival called The Sail takes place in the harbor of Karlskrona. Usually it is a place where families go to have something to eat and drink, and perhaps watch the sailing boats lined up at the pier. During the sail, the seascouts of Karlskrona will row a boat carrying torches along the docks while playing the national anthems for the visiting ships.

Lately The Sail has been replaced with a festival called Skärgårdsfest.[16]

The old architecture together with the naval installations comprise the major tourist attractions of Karlskrona. The city has a pleasant atmosphere and is one of the highlights of south-east Sweden.

Architectural Heritage Edit

Karlskrona has preserved its buildings and its layout virtually intact since its foundation.

When the city was founded in 1680, it was primarily thought of as a military city, with many defenses and fortifications exploiting the particular topography of the city. Some fortifications were located on the main island (Trossö) such as the Bastion Aurora, built at the beginning of the 18th century,[17] but much of it was located on the nearby islands (Ljungskär, Mjölnareholmen, Godnatt, Koholmen and Kurrholmen) or more distant, such as the islands closing the bay, with in particular the important fortress of Kungsholmen and its circular port.[18]

But the civil part of the city was also carefully planned. It has a rectangular grid plan, with however some diagonal streets, created because of the relief of the city center.[citation needed] Nicodème Tessin l'Ancien was responsible for the design of the buildings, and he gave the city a very uniform baroque style.[citation needed]

The central building of the city is the Fredrikskyrkan church, built in the 1690s,[19] On the main square, which is also the highest point of the island. Several other churches are located in the city, such as the Church of the Holy Trinity, built for the Germans of the city in 1709,[20] or the Amiralitetskyrkan, consecrated in 1685[21]

In front of the Amiralitetskyrkan church is the statue of Rosenbom, made famous by the children's book of Selma Lagerlöf, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, in which the statue tells the story of the church.[22] Near the church is also the Admiralstorn Tower, dating from 1699, originally used to indicate the time for the shipyard workers but used since 1909 as the church tower[23] The ma is seen holding some text in Swedish. The English translation of that text is "I humbly beg of you, even though my voice may be weak, come and put a penny in but first lift my hat. Blessed are those that care for the poor." (The last sentence being adapted from the Bible.) Nearby, there is paper with the translation of that text, the translated languages are English, German, Polish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish. The English translation is written by Gorge Hopkins.

Finally, the city has some more recent buildings, such as the model room, having hosted between 1780 and 1920 models of boats,[24] Now transferred to the Marine Museum, or the town hall built after the fire of 1790.[25] Finally, the county building (Länsresidenset) built between 1909 and 1911.[26]

Museums Edit

The Museum of the Navy

The most visited museum of the city is the Naval Museum, with around 250,000 visitors a year. About half of those visitors are Swedish, the other half from other countries.[27] The Naval Museum is Sweden's national museum for the history of the Swedish Navy. Along with exhibitions, the museum contains object collections, a drawings archive, photographic archive and a library. The museum is also involved in research.

The present museum building on Stumholmen in Karlskrona was opened in 1997 by the present king Carl XVI Gustaf. Before that the museum lay in the former cadet barracks in the naval harbour, Örlogshamnen, and until 1963 was known as the Shipyard Museum (Varvsmuseet).

The museum is based on the "model room" created in 1752 by King Adolf Frederick of Sweden, in which several boat models were stored in order to test different types of structures.[28] Nowadays, these models still form the core of the museum's collection, but the museum also traces the history of the Royal Swedish Navy.[28]

The city is also home to the Blekinge Museum, with 82,443 visitors in 2008.[29]

Economy Edit

Some of the biggest employers in Karlskrona are Telenor, Ericsson, NKT and Roxtec. The city has an overall strong presence in information technology based industries.

Transport Edit

The city is positioned at the south east corner of Sweden with excellent connections to the other side of the Baltic Sea. There is a ferry line to Gdynia in Poland transporting both goods and passengers provided by the ferry operator Stena Line.

Most of the islands of Karlskrona are connected by roads. One of the bigger populated Islands Aspö is connected with a small road ferry. Boats also travel between the archipelago's various islands during the summer months.

Truck transport Edit

The city is close to the European Highway 22, connected by a small section of highway, part of the national road 28. The E22 connects the main cities of southern Sweden such as Malmö, Lund, Kristianstad, then climbs along the east coast towards Kalmar and Norrköping. The national road 28 connects the Karlstad to Emmaboda.

Rail transport Edit

Karlskrona Central Station

The city being one of the most important in Sweden, with in particular a large shipyard, the need for railway was great.[30] The city received its first railway line in 1874, connecting it to Växjö, which itself was connected since 1865 to the main line Södra stambanan.[30] The line then came to the north of the city center of Karlskrona. The shipyard, further south, was connected in 1888, thanks to an underground line of 2 km, but the line closed in 1990.[30] This line is now part of the Kust till Kust banan, linking Göteborg and Kalmar.[31] The town received a new railway line in 1889 when the future Blekinge kustbana, linking Kristianstad to Karlskrona, was built.[32]

Maritime transport Edit

There is a regular ferry service from Karlskrona to Gdynia in Poland, operated by Stena Line, with an average of two return trips per day.[33] This line carries nearly 500,000 people a year.[34] The port of Karlskrona also serves the archipelago of Blekinge.[34]

Air transport Edit

The nearest airport to the city is Ronneby Airport, near Ronneby, with scheduled flights to Stockholm (Bromma and Arlanda).[35] 191,168 people transited through this airport in 2009.[36]

Religion Edit

Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan (Church of Holy Trinity)

There are three important churches in Karlskrona. Fredrikskyrkan (The Frederick church) was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, who was influenced by Italian architecture. The foundation of that church was laid in 1720, and it was inaugurated in 1744. It differs from usual Swedish churches in its orange color, adornment and its two towers despite not being a bishop's church.

Trefaldighetskyrkan (Church of Holy Trinity), also called The German Church, was built between 1697–1709, following Tessin's drawings. It is likewise located at the market square in the centre core. The dome-shaped roof also takes its influence from Italian architecture and is rarely seen on Swedish churches.

Karlskrona Admiralty Church (Amiralitetskyrkan) was built in 1685 in red-painted wood and is one of Sweden's largest wooden churches. Outside the church there is a well-known statue called Rosenbom.

Parishes Edit

Aerial view of Karlskrona

There is also a Catholic Church, Our Lady of Fatima, at Södra Kungsgatan 1, 371 30 Karlskrona[37]

Education Edit

The library of Blekinge tekniska högskola

The city is the main campus of Blekinge tekniska högskola, an Institute of Technology founded in 1989,[38] which is one of the few högskolor (university colleges) in Sweden with the right to issue a doctorate,[39] thus having a status quite similar to that of a real university. The institute employs about 600 people and hosts about 8,000 students.[38]

Sports Edit

The following sports clubs are located in Karlskrona:

Prominent People from Karlskrona Edit

In literature Edit

In The Surgeon's Mate by Patrick O'Brian, Karlskrona is the base for the British Baltic fleet, approximately 1813, when the two nations were at peace with each other and allied against Napoleon. Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin start an action to free a group of Catalan forces still in French service on a fictional island on the Pomeranian coast. The estimable Vice Admiral Sir James Saumarez is still in command of the Baltic fleet for the purpose of the novel.

Gallery Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c "Kommunfakta och statistik2 2018" (in Swedish). Karlskrona kommun. 31 December 2018. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Karlskrona". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Karlskrona". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Karlskrona | Intelligent Cities Challenge". www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu. Retrieved 2023-06-28.
  5. ^ "Ett världsarvs historia". www.karlskrona.se. Karlskrona Municipality. Retrieved 2022-08-01. Hit kom många tyskar, framförallt handelsmän.
  6. ^ "Mosaiska församlingen i Karlskrona (1785 – 1994)". sok.riksarkivet.se (in Swedish). National Archives of Sweden. Retrieved 2022-08-01.
  7. ^ "Grattis Karlskrona, 337 year!" (in Swedish). Blekinge läns tidning. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  8. ^ Hellquist, Elof (1922). "Karl". Svensk etymologisk ordbok (in Swedish). p. 302.
  9. ^ "Karlskronas historia". Karlskrona.com (in Swedish). Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  10. ^ a b Carlquist, Gunnar [in Swedish] (1933). Svensk uppslagsbok. Bd 14. Malmö: Svensk Uppslagsbok AB. p. 14.
  11. ^ "Wämöleden" (PDF). Karlskrona kommun. Retrieved 28 May 2008.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Karlskrona". www.worldheritagesite.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  13. ^ Berezin, Henrik (30 April 2006). Adventure Guide Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway, & Denmark. Hunter Publishing, Inc. pp. 120–. ISBN 978-1-58843-579-8. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  14. ^ "SMHI". Archived from the original on 2013-02-13.
  15. ^ "Karlskrona, Sweden– Monthly weather forecast and Climate data". Weather Atlas. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Hem - Karlskrona Skärgårdsfest". www.karlskronaskargardsfest.se.
  17. ^ "The Aurora Bastion". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  18. ^ "Fortifications". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  19. ^ "The Fredrik Church". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  20. ^ "The Church of the Holy Trinity". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  21. ^ "The Admiralty Church". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011.[permanent dead link].
  22. ^ "Gubblen Rosenbom". Karlskrona (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  23. ^ "The Admiralty Clock Tower". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011.[permanent dead link].
  24. ^ "The Ships' Models Room and Mustering Hall". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011.[permanent dead link].
  25. ^ "The Town Hall". The naval city of Karlskrona. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  26. ^ "Upplev länsresidenset i Karlskrona och skärgårdens befästningar". Stats fastighetsverk (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  27. ^ "Om Marinmuseum". www.marinmuseum.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  28. ^ a b "About". Marinmuseum. Archived from the original on 7 December 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  29. ^ "Museer & Konsthallar 2008" (PDF). Kulturrådet (in Swedish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2011..
  30. ^ a b c "Emmaboda-Karlskrona". Järnväg (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  31. ^ "Kust till kust-banan". Trafikverket (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  32. ^ "Kristianstad-Karlskrona". Järnväg (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  33. ^ "Tidtabeller Karlskrona - Gdynia". Stena Line (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  34. ^ a b "Kommunikationer". Karlskrona (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  35. ^ "Destinationer". Swedavia (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 8 March 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  36. ^ "Passagerarfrekvens 2009" (PDF). Transportstyrelsen (in Swedish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  38. ^ a b "A short presentation of Blekinge institute of technology". Blekinge tekniska högskola. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2011..
  39. ^ "Universitet&högskolor Högskoleverkets årsrapport 2009" (PDF). Högskoleverket (in Swedish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2011..

External links Edit

  Media related to Karlskrona at Wikimedia Commons   Karlskrona travel guide from Wikivoyage