I’d detoured to Luleå on the advice of a Swedish lady in the hostel in Jokkmokk. I was looking forward to seeing a city not many foreign tourists (or Swedish ones for that matter) get to and also visiting the World Heritage church village, Gammelstad.
I ended up having a very frustrating weekend and leaving without a particularly good impression. However, the village was interesting and all those little red houses did look very pretty, so I’m still glad I made the effort and went to see it.
To access the Flickr album click on the image below.
Why a church village?
Sunday services used to be the only time people from farms spread far and wide could get together to catch up on news and socialise. Because the farms were spread so far and wide over often inhospitable terrain, it wasn’t that easy to get to church and back in the one day. The solution in the north of Sweden was to build a small house near the church that could be used for an overnight stay. As everyone had the same idea, whole villages of little red houses sprang up around remote churches. Gammelstad near Luleå is the largest and best preserved example and thus is now a World Heritage Site.