Every unique historical environment must have its characteristic features that make it unique in the first place. The Old Town of Stockholm (Gamla Stan) is considered one of the most well-preserved medieval city centres in the world and as such, it offers a variety of these features to explore. Some of them might be fairly obvious while others require your close attention, which is why in this episode of Places of Interest, I help you discover the magic of the wall anchors in Stockholm’s Old Town.

Earlier, I have published a guide that you can use to estimate the age of individual buildings in Gamla Stan. In some cases, it will even help you tell the age of different parts of the same building.

Now it is time to put it to use and explore some of the less-known corners of the Old Town where you can find interesting wall anchors preserved from different historical periods. You can also use this post to discover somewhat hidden places in the centre of Stockholm where you will not be bothered by too many fellow travellers.

1. BollhusgrÀnd

Wall Anchors on BollhusgrÀnd in Gamla Stan, Stockholm

BollhusgrÀnd is perhaps the best street if you want to put the aforementioned guide to estimating the age of houses to use. On this street, you will find a plenty of yellow stone houses typical of the 17th century which was an especially prosperous era for Stockholm, as well as the entire country. Apart from the numerous and diverse wall anchors that you can observe on the yellow facades, you might want to pay close attention to the artistic stone portals surrounding entrances to some of the houses on the street.
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2. Bartel House (Bartelska huset)

Bartelska Huset in Gamla Stan in Stockholm

Bartel House (Bartelska huset) features one of the unique facades in all of the Old Town. This house on the corner of Köpmangatan and Kindstugatan began its life as two separate building in the 15th century. One of them was made of stone while the other was wooden. The house as we can see it today was built around 1660 when it was owned by Lydert Bartel after whom it is named. The beautifully decorated portal facing SjÀlagÄrdsgatan was also completed during this period.
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3. PrÀstgatan 74

House on PrÀstgatan 74 in Gamla Stan, Stockholm

Similar to BollhusgrÀnd, PrÀstgatan is a long but narrow street where you can admire a variety of historical houses and their wall anchors. Here, I would like to direct your attention to one building in particular, though.

If you look closely at the building at PrÀstgatan 74, you will notice several curiosities. On the right-hand side of the entrance, you will see wall anchors from around the end of the 16th century. On the other side, there are anchors in the shape of the year 1630, and right above the entrance, you will find the kind of wall anchor that was commonly used in the 1850s.

Moreover, on the first floor on the left-hand side and on the second floor on the right-hand side, there are no visible wall anchors whatsoever. This house is, therefore, a great example of how wall anchors can help you understand the story of a building and how it has developed over time.
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4. ÖsterlĂ„nggatan

ÖsterlĂ„nggatan in Stockholm

Although you would hopefully encounter ÖsterlĂ„nggatan as one of the major streets in the Old Town on your own, it is usually easy to simply follow the crowds and not pay attention to the details on this historical street. What is most interesting about ÖsterlĂ„nggatan is that it is the former eastern border of the medieval city. Therefore, I encourage you to notice the differences in architecture on the two sides of the street.
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5. Grill House (Grillska huset)

A legend says that the number of stones on the façade of the Grill House symbolises the number of victims of Stockholm Bloodbath which took place on Stortorget (‘The Big Square’) right in front of this house. We do not know whether this is true or not. However, we do know that the house dates back to the Middle Ages even though it has been thoroughly rebuilt during the 17th century and then again, in 1750.
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6. Beijer House (Beijerska huset)

Beijer House in Stockholm

Not far from Stortorget, you can find the Beijer House. The former residence of General Postmaster Johan von Beijer might be overshadowed by the glory of its neighbour, the Axel Oxenstierna Palace. However, the house is one of the best-preserved from the 1600s and the only one in the Old Town of Stockholm with a preserved 17th-century courtyard.
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7. VÀsterlÄnggatan

VÀsterlÄnggatan in Stockholm

We have already visited the eastern border of the medieval town and you might be wondering where the western one was. Well, you found it! Now you can imagine how small Stockholm was at the time when Birger Jarl founded the city in the mid-13th century. VÀsterlÄnggatan can be considered the main street passing through the Old Town and is, hence, usually fairly busy. On the floors above the mostly well-integrated boutiques, you can still find a plenty of diverse wall anchors to guide your explorations.
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8. Ryning Palace (Ryningska palatset)

Ryning Palace in Stockholm

The Ryning Palace standing on the northern end of Stora Nygatan is a perfect example of a 17th-century house with a subtle plastered façade which is solely decorated by pretty wall anchors and a massive stone portal. Especially the portal visible from Stora Nygatan creates an elegant contrast with the red façade.
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9. Petersen House (Petersenska huset)

Petersen House in Stockholm

In contrast with the previous place on my list, Petersen House is a true noble residence from the era of the Swedish Empire. Its recently-renovated façade is a real beauty and belongs to the most decorated ones in town. Apart from the wall anchors, you should notice the numerous stone decorations including the exquisite portals facing Munkbron.
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10. Stenbock Palace (Stenbockska palatset)

Stenbock Palace in Stockholm

Coming to the Riddarholmen Island, the first thing you are likely to notice when you see Stenbock Palace is the unusual colour of its façade. The pink palace would never be the same without its symmetrically arranged wall anchors typical of the 1650s when the modern-day appearance of the palace originated.
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These are ten of my favourite places to admire wall anchors in the Old Town of Stockholm that you might easily miss. If you are hungry for more, do not worry, there is always more for you to discover. Once again, do not forget to have a look at the guide to wall anchors which will help you tell the age of individual houses and have more fun while exploring them.

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