Norrköping and Örebro: gorgeous textiles cities you should visit in Sweden
Sweden is filled with a magnificent visual beauty and amazing natural surroundings. The gorgeous mountains, rivers, lakes, along with a clean sky and the fresh air of this northern European country, makes you forget that several of its cities where vibrant textiles towns from the seventieth until mid-twentieth century. Two of those textiles cities that bloomed during the 19th century are in the southeastern part of the country. Norrköping, in the province of Östergötland and Örebro in the province of Närke are about two hours by train from Stockholm. Both are beautiful cities filled with modern history sites along with spectacular and refreshing scenery... Nothing like what is usually thought about old industrial cities in other parts of Europe.
Norrköping and ÖrebroClick thumbnail to view full-size
Once a powerhouse of the textile industry in Sweden, Norrköpinng began its industrial development in the 17th century. But it was not until the 19th century that took off as the main producer of textiles in the country, making the 70% of the national production. Back then, textiles mills sprang up alongside the swift-flowing Motala ström, the magnificent river that drains the second largest lake in Sweden, Lake Vättern. Norrköping then is filled with a beautiful system of water canals and waterfalls that powered the industrial city. This creates a pleasant, refreshing and calm atmosphere for the visitors.
In the 1960s the last textile mills closed. Since then, the city have reinvented the closed-down factories and now they house cafés, museums and a concert hall. You can take an enjoyable walk around the Industrialandskapet (a well-preserved industrial area near the river) and admire the beauty of the most thunderous waterfall, Kungsfallet. The area has several interesting museums with free admission that documents the working life, technology and industries in the 19th century. Among them, the Stadsmuseum, Holmens Museum and Arbetets Museum. At Rådhustornet (the Town Hall Tower) you can have a fascinating city view.
For art lovers and followers, there is the Norrköping Konstmuseum (Norrköping Modern Art Museum) with a collection of Swedish art from the 1400s to the present day, but mainly concentrates on 20th century art. Many of the internationally renowned 19th and 20th century Swedish artists are represented in the museum, among them: Carl Larsson, Isaac Grünewald, Sigrid Hjertén, Olle Bærtling, Lena Cronqvist, Maria Friberg and Cecilia Edefalk. That's why this museum is classed as having one of the country’s best collections of Swedish Modernism and one of the largest graphic collections.The Konstmuseum also includes works from international renown artists such as Dürer, Rembrandt and Goya.
In this city also lies the largest zoo in Europe, Kolmården which includes animals from all continents and climates in the world. If you visit Norrköping during the summer, is worthy to spend a whole day. The zoo consists in a main park (Djurparken) which has a dolphin show and the Safariparken, where you can see the animals and a forest. Also there is the Tropicarium that exhibits over 175 species of vertebra animals, but is mainly famous for their reptiles. With about 60 displayed species, Norrköping's Tropicarium has the largest exhibit of reptiles in Sweden.
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During Scandinavian medieval time. Örebro became an important seat of commerce in the reign. Old buildings from the early days include the foundations of the city church, the magnificent Örebro Castle, situated on an islet in the Svartån river. This castle was constructed during the early 13th century and then modified and enlarged during the reign of King Gustav Vasa in the 1560s.
Although Örebro was an important trade town since medieval times, remained small until the second half of the 19th century. With a rapid growth of industrial production, after the 1850s the city became a center of the national shoe manufacturing industry.
Located on the banks of Svartån (black stream) is Örebro's old village, Wadköping. There you can visit several museums and exhibitions and appreciate 18th and 19th century wooden houses. The village includes a medieval house with 16th century ceiling paintings called Kungsstugan (the King's Lodgings) and Cajsa Warg's house, a 18th century famous chef. A period craft workshops, bakery, candy store, among others, complete the village museum. Nearby, is voted Sweden's most beautiful park Stadsträdgarden, which stretches along the Svartån.
Among other places worth visiting while in Örebro are: the 13th century church St Nikolai Kyrka, where Napoleon's Marshall took the trone of Sweden in 1810; the Svampen (The Mushroom) which is the first of Sweden's modern 'mushroom' water towers, now is a popular destination as an outlook tower; and Rådhuset (the city hall) where you can see the sculptures representing the city's past, present and future wheeling out of a high arched window as the chimes announce the time.