One of the greatest things about visiting and living in Stockholm is how many different faces the city has. Sure, there is something that connects all the unique parts of the city but distinct areas and districts still manage to keep their uniqueness and surprise their visitors with original architecture, landscapes, or atmosphere. In this episode of Places of Interest, we look at an informal area located in the north-western part of the Östermalm district known as Lärkstaden.
Since Lärkstaden is not an officially recognised area, its borders are not clearly defined either. Generally, it is seen as the area stretching between Karlavägen, Odengatan, Valhallavägen, and Uggelviksgatan. However, in this post, we move the eastern border of the area we explore all the way to Sturegatan.
Lärkstaden is full of massive red-brick buildings but one of them clearly sticks out. Engelbrekt Church standing on top of the highest hill in the neighbourhood dominates the entire area and thanks to its position also serves as a great orientation point. The church was built in the early 1900s as the parish church for the Engelbrekt Parish that had been established only a few years before the completion of the church.
2. Engelbrekt Parish House (Engelbrekts församlingshem)
Since the Engelbrekt Parish was so young at the time when the Engelbrekt Church was being planned, the church was not the only structure architect Wahlman was required to design to win the architectural contest. The Parish House standing right next to the church was completed three years earlier, in 1911. While it is true that the two buildings are impressive by themselves, together they create a glorious environment to visit.
Bragevägen is one of the streets leading directly to the Engelbrekt Church. The street was built around the same time as the church itself, which explains the harmony of styles you can admire in the area. Bragevägen features a number of beautiful houses designed in National Romantic style and, in my opinion, it belongs to the most sophisticated streets in Stockholm.
The street carrying the name of the district itself stretches over its significant part. This time, we are interested only in the part located in the area that we explore in this post but you are, of course, welcome to discover the rest of the street as well. Östermalmsgatan will lead you to many beautiful pieces of architecture so I recommend you explore the street slowly and with your eyes wide open.
5. Östermalmsgatan 34
Speaking of Östermalmsgatan, I must mention one building in particular. The house with a distinct pink façade standing on the corner of Östermalmsgatan and Engelbrektsgatan is in many ways unique and interesting, which is why I think you should not miss it.
6. Embassy of Romania
Similar to another exclusive city area built mostly in the early 1900s – the ‘Diplomatic City’ (Diplomatstaden) – the neighbourhood north of Humlegården, known as Villastaden (‘The Villa City’), is the home of many foreign embassies. First on our list is the Embassy of Romania residing in a magnificent palatial building located only a stone’s throw from the previous place on my list. The house was completed in 1882 and was long owned by the Palme family, a member of which was the well-known Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme.
Villagatan is considered to be the main street of the Villastaden neighbourhood and it is also the one where you will find the most exclusive residences. The houses that you can see in the pictures above, were erected in the late 19th century and have helped the street to be long known as the home of several prominent residents.
8. Embassy of Colombia
Further down on Östermalmsgatan, you can find another embassy residing in a house from 1893. You do not need to remember the year, though, as you can simply read it from the façade when you stand in front of the building. The Embassy of Colombia moved to this exclusive location in 1954. While the house may seem less decorated than some others on the list, it is certainly not less original.
Floragatan is where villas give way to larger residential buildings and it is hard to tell which one you should admire first, so just pay attention to all of them and pick your favourite if you wish to do so. In my opinion, these buildings showcase the best of the architectural styles of the late 19th century. Notice the subtle details such as frescoes on the facades or beautifully decorated windows and entrance portals to fully enjoy their beauty.
Stureparken by itself is not the most impressive park in the city but combine it with the architecture you can view from there and you get a place you do not want to miss. While houses on all sides of the park are impressive, the one in the picture above from the 1880s, which stands north of the park, catches my attention more than any other every time I pass by.
Lärkstaden and the surrounding areas are wonderful places to visit for every architecture aficionado. Moreover, you never have it far to more beautiful places from this location so if you feel like you have not had enough, continue exploring nearby attractions.
North of Valhallavägen, you will find the modern campus of the Royal College of Music (Kungliga Musikhögskolan), Stockholm Olympic Stadium (Stockholms stadion), and the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan). Further south, on the other hand, you can enjoy yourself in the pleasing environment of Humlegården where you will also find the National Library of Sweden (Kungliga biblioteket).
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