Mariestad in Sweden is rightfully called the Pearl of Lake Vänern. It was founded in 1583 by Duke Karl (later become King Karl IX), who named the city after his wife, Duchess Maria av Pfalz. The city with its 15 000 inhabitants has a lot to offer. The hidden jewel at the heart of the city is the beautiful wooden buildings of the Old Town, which were erected in the 18th and 19th centuries and are still almost perfectly intact. The city of Mariestad suffered a great fire in 1895, and this old section is the only one not affected by the raging flames. I had another quality time with my wife wandering among the charming wooden buildings and I look forward to sharing our treasure with you. Let’s start with a look at one of the typical narrow cobblestone streets:

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #1

Then we take one pearl after the other – I hope you don’t get bored!:

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #2

This warehouse, built around 1800 is all that remains of the numerous wooden buildings that previously lined the harbour and therefore a valuable element of the old part of Mariestad. Today it has been converted to a graphic museum and an art gallery.

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #3

The Youth Hostel, own by the SYHA since 1944, is one of the most popular in the country. Earlier this was one of the numerous tanneries of the town. The timbered house with external galleries was build after an earlier fire in 1693.

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #4

“The house of the Misses” is from the 19th century and originally one-storied, the building was expanded by adding an upper floor in the following century, the house reflects the characteristic features of classicism.

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #5

This combination of stable, carriage house and storehouse remains from the days when courtyards surrounded by buildings where customary. The house was build and owned by Mr. Olaus in the beginning of the1850s who was a charioteer (carriage man) or that times taxi driver if you like.

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #6

The courtyard of wooden houses from the 1800s. Notice the delicate and well cared for garden. Here we met a charming lady who had lived in that house for a number of years, and really enjoyed her traditional surroundings.

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #7

A typical burgher’s house where the otherwise symmetrical building has an extra chamber on one side – typical for the area. It’s build shortly after the fire of 1693. Around 1900, there was a bakery in the northern part of the building.

Wandering through time in old Mariestad #8

The red house is where Bror Kronstrand was born in 1874. He was a famous portrait painter whose painting of prominent people can be admired in many parts of the world. To the left Berg’s Hotel, another low plastered building, characteristic of the old town. Notice the cathedrals tower in the background!

Information sources:
Many thinks to tourist information guide Anna Söderman at Mariestad’s tourist office who suggested this tour and gave us a brochure with a map of the Old Town. I would also like to thank Elisabeth Göthberg, manager of Vadsbo Museum for an interesting discussion and further details about the old town. She turned out to be the writer of the information in the folder and I refer to her texts in my descriptions. The ladies of Mariestad are jewels of the town as well!

Update 1:
This post has become a part of this years Lifecruisers Cyber Cruise. Read more about: Lifecruiser cyber cruise and here is Cyber Cruise Calendar 2007

Update 2
This post has become a part of Rich’s blog Planet Earth Daily Photos – an honor of course!

Update 3
A good friend of mine RSannes from Norwegian School of Management, suggested I put up a link to map of Mariestad – Click!

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