Monday, June 05, 2017

Stockholm, Sweden - a war free zone

Of the thirteen sovereign monarchies in Europe, Sweden and Denmark pretty much tie in terms of the oldest uninterrupted "Kinging" stakes, with each going back to 900 CE or a little earlier. Sweden's current monarch is Carl XVI Gustaf of the House of Bernadotte, which has reigned since 1818. Oldest continuous monarchy in Europe however, does not mean the oldest in the world - that honor goes to Japan with 2,600 uninterrupted years by a series of Emperors.
Two hundred plus years ago, Sweden, like many other European countries, had garnered a significant empire around the world. At the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries however, things began to unravel. Many of their territorial possessions were forcibly wrested away from them to the extent that in 1814 they quit the empire race, declared themselves neutral and haven't engaged in any form of military hostility since. In the intervening years they have given the world the Nobel prize system, Volvo cars, SAAB cars and airplanes, smorgasbord, Bjorn Borg and ABBA. Pretty impressive.
Stockholm is the capital city and Gamla Stan, it's historic district, actually contains much real old stuff. So many European cities were reduced to rubble over two world wars in the 20th century and have been rebuilt, usually on a budget, since the late 1940s. Stockholm however, sports a lot of solid old craftsmanship, plenty of well polished pomp and a sunny, old European attitude.More pictures.

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