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Exhibition cottage

Gammelstad possesses the country’s largest and best preserved church town. There are more than 400 church cottages here witch approximately 550 rooms. Of Sweden’s other 71 church towns, only 16 are left today. The bulk of them are greatly changed as to size, appearance and function.

Church towns are found mainly in Northern Sweden. Here the parishes covered a large area and distances to church were long. The population was obliged to attend church regularly and thus needed lodgings also near the churches. Gammelstad’s first church cottages were built during the 16th century.

Interior in the exhibition cottage
Photo: Susanne Lindholm

The church town was the most important meeting place in the parish. Here people came to High Mass and periods of devotion, to market, court and parish meetings. People from different parts of the parish met up here, which lead to many marriages. Even today the church town customs live on in Gammelstad. A few times a year parishioners are invited to devotional weekends, and in the period leading up to confirmation, the cottages are packed with young people going to classes.

A guide in the exhibition cottage
Photo: Susanne Lindholm

The exhibition cottage, church cottage number 253-254, is owned by the Nederluleå local History Association. Thereby it is one of very few church cottages in Gammelstad not privatelyowned. It is also unusually large, reflecting the wealth of the previous owners. The cottage was built in the mid-18th century. One of the first owners was Erik Eriksson-Nordström, a rich farmer from Mörön.

For more information about the exhibition cottage visit Nederluleå local History Association’s website.

Exterior of the exhibition cottage