Monday, August 19, 2013


Finally, Gamla Stan --- that cobblestoned island bursting with an array of well-preserved medieval buildings that is Stockholm's heart and soul.

And an old town means old churches.

Quite old, like the 12th century Great Church which is also the Stockholm Cathedral --- the Swedish royalty's preferred  house of worship --- home to a massive sculpture of St. George slaying the dragon, a rather huge candlstick, a silver-plated main altar, and a collection of interesting church paintings.

Nearby, a needle of a spire easily gave away the German Church, unique for its two massive pillars in the middle that effectively blocked a view of the Baroque altar from what was once the main entrance, the interior almost drowning in archaic church art like the lavish King's Gallery for a Swedish queen of German descent, a replica of the more-than-ornate church organ, the alabaster-and-ebony pulpit, and the bible as illustrated in at least 119 paintings that hover like butterflies around what space is left inside.

And finally, the Riddarholmen Church which is a bridge away from the center of Gam Stan, one of Stockholm's oldest structures and its only surviving medieval abbey, perhaps too old that it became the preferred burial ground of kings and queens whose royal coffins today served as the church's main tourist draw.

The end of the day found me contemplating a blisterred toe and numbing legs along the Riddarfjarden while trying to chase away creeping hunger and thirst with my stash of Marlboro Lights.

I was both sore and happy.

As I made way back up a slope, the spires of the three churches slowly unfolded like striptease show, an encore for an amazing day walking the cobbled streets and shooting the ancient churches of Gamla Stan... 

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