Sweden // The southeast //


The only real place of interest in Belkinge is the handsome town of KARLSKRONA, the provincial capital, which really is something special and merits, say, a day or so of your time. Set on the largest link in a chain of breezy islands, this fine example of Baroque exuberance, founded by Karl XI in 1680, is unique in southern Sweden.

Brief history

No sooner had the base for the Swedish Baltic fleet been chosen (the seas here are ice-free in winter) than architects from across the country were dispatched to draw up plans for the town’s grid of wide avenues and grand buildings. These were to provide the classical purity and Baroque splendour commensurate with a town destined to become Sweden’s second city. Built to accommodate the king’s naval parades, Karlskrona’s original layout has survived intact, a fact which has earned it a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, despite the anonymous blocks plonked between the town’s splendid churches.

Today, cadets in uniform still career around its streets, many of which are named after Swedish admirals and battleships; the town’s biggest museum is, unsurprisingly, dedicated to maritime history.

More about Sweden

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