Gammelstad has the largest and most well-preserved church town in the world. Here we have more than 400 church cottages and 550 chambers. The church town phenomenon was a very northern phenomenon, typical for the North of Scandinavia and especially for the North of Sweden. In Sweden we've had 71 church towns in total but today only 16 remains.
Back in the days the population was obliged to visit the church regularly, which caused the need for cottages where they could stay the night, since the distances geographicly always have been very large in the northern parts of the country.
The first written proof that we have of the existence of a church town is from Gammelstad and the year 1600, but the church town in Gammelstad is probably older than that. The church town was the most important meeting place in the parish. People did not only come here for church, they also came for markets, parish meetings and more. Here they could socialized across the village boundaries and look for partners from other villages. Even today, the church town tradition lives on in Gammelstad.
Church cottage number 253-254, also known as the"Stockamyrs cottage" is owned by Nederluleå Local History Society and is one of few that you are allowed to enter. It is also unusually large and reflects the wealth of the first owner, who built it in the mid 18th Century.