- Most buildings and streets in the area are from the 18th century
- Even the 18th-century roads and pavements have been beautifully preserved
- The urban area is uniquely incorporated into the hilly landscape
- Monteliusvägen offers some of the most amazing views in Stockholm
Nearly every district and every island in Stockholm has its distinct style. In Södermalm, though, you can even find several different styles within the same district. Earlier, I have introduced you to the White Mountains borough, for example, which is a cultural preserve today. in this post, we look at a quite different area called Mariaberget (“Maria Hill”) on the northern edge of the island.
Mariaberget is bordered by some of the biggest streets in the district – Hornsgatan on the south, Torkel Knutssonsgatan on the west, and on the eastern side it stretches essentially all the way to the Centralbron bridge. While there are several historical areas on Södermalm, Mariaberget has quite a few special perks that differentiate it from the rest. Most notably, there are the views of Riddarfjärden on the northern side and the unique way in which the hill is incorporated into the area’s landscape.
The oldest buildings you can explore here, date from the Middle Ages. However, most of the houses and the overall street layout come from the 18th century, more specifically from the period after the fire in 1759.
Even though many of these original houses were renovated during the following century, their architectural and historical value are indisputable. So is the attractiveness of the views of the Old Town (Gamla stan) and the Riddarholmen island from some parts of the area. Mariaberget’s façade visible from Hornsgatan or from the graveyard of Maria Magdalena Church (Maria Magdalena kyrka) is also pretty impressive.
Still, the greatest part of the character of this area comes from the incorporation of the hill on which it stands into the landscape. Perhaps it is because of the era during which Mariaberget was mostly developed, that people did not try to alter the hilly character of the location. They rather adjusted the streets to it and this way created a unique environment full of steep, narrow streets and unique urban elements such as the terrace-like roads that you can see on northern sides of Hornsgatan or Brännkyrkagatan, for example.
In contrast with other buildings, the ones on the northern end of Bellmansgatan leading to the Maria Elevator (Mariahissen) were built in the late 1800s. These are significantly more decorated and monumental as you can see in the picture.
A big reconstruction of the area was planned in the 1960s. Fortunately, it was to be implemented with the intention to preserve the cultural and architectural heritage that Mariaberget carries and alter only what deemed absolutely necessary. This included fitting modern installations into the historical houses in a way that would not disrupt their character but appear as an addition from modern times instead.
As could have been expected, this complex process faced some difficult challenges. The authorities needed to figure out a way to use modern materials and tools that had not been available at the time when the original buildings had been constructed while still preserving their historical character and value.
They, for example, studied the origins of the paints used on facades of individual houses in historical sources available in archives and literature. This not only illustrates how sensitive a reconstruction this was meant to be but also how complex it actually is to preserve historic sites so that we can keep exploring and enjoying them.
Notice also the stone roads and pavements especially in the eastern part of Mariaberget. Even details such as these have been preserved as best as possible. Speaking of details, you should not miss the fact that there are almost no free-standing street lamps in this part of the area either, because these would, again, disrupt the original pavements. Street lamps are instead elegantly located on the facades of houses facing the streets.
However, the research preceding the reconstruction went even further as it was not only technical aspects of buildings and streets that had been studied. The authorities also searched the archives for information regarding the social aspects of life in the area from the historical perspective. It is only this way, when all relevant aspects are taken into account, that the true nature of a place can be preserved.
There is more than architecture and historical streets that you can admire at Mariaberget, though. Here, you will also find one of the best places to see and take pictures of, the city panorama. I am talking about Monteliusvägen, a few-hundred-metre-long walking path up on the hill on the northern side of Södermalm. From this place, and the several viewing decks that are located there, you can enjoy the views of the Old Town and Riddarholmen, but also the southern façade of Kunsholmen.
If you would like to enjoy the views for a little longer, then Ivar Los park is the place for you. This enclosed park with a playground is located right above Monteliusvägen and it is a very nice place to simply sit down on the grass and relax or perhaps, have a little picnic.
Overall, Mariaberget is one of those places that have much more to offer than you might expect. So, if you like history, architecture, nice views, or cosy atmosphere of unique places, I am sure you will find something that you will like at Mariaberget.
If you enjoyed this story, make sure to come back to Trevl for more and consider sharing it with your dear ones. We will always keep you updated on the latest news from Trevl if you join us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter.
Check out our Instagram account, too, for daily photos of beautiful places to visit in Stockholm and a few other major cities.
Wohlin, Hans, Hagelberg, Gunnar, Ahlgren, Ivar, Johnson, Stig, Beskow, Hans, Hagängen, Arne, Fogelmarck, Stig, 1969. Mariaberget Östra.