Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Kalmar – City Wall & Cathedral

Road Trip 2018, Part 20 (19th July)


In Kalmar, we stayed three nights at this hotel on the outskirts of the city, rather close to the Öland bridge (but not so close that you actually see the bridge from there). It’s part of the university campus and serves a conference hotel during most of the year; but also as a convenient B&B for tourists in the summer. The accommodation is in a different building than the reception and restaurant; but in the hot dry weather we were having, that was not a problem. For us, the location was good because we wanted one full day over on Öland, and another day in the city of Kalmar; and it was kind of relaxing not to have to start every morning with packing all our stuff again.

After breakfast on Thursday, we drove into the city of Kalmar, and found a parking lot within reasonable walking distance from the places we inteded to visit before lunch. The parking was close to an old city wall with a walkpath on top, of which we made use to get an overview of the surroundings.





Somewhere around here we got down from the wall and went off in a different direction.




There are a lot of picturesque old houses in Kalmar and I kept snapping photos without really knowing what I was looking at most of the time.

2018-07-19-02 Kalmar staty





The 17th century Cathedral stands out a bit extra though – although I have to confess that if I hadn’t known what I was looking for, “cathedral” might not have been my first guess for this building – looking more like some kind of compact baroque palace.

2018-07-19-02 Kalmar Domkyrka1

When reading up on the history of Kalmar afterwards, I learn that the cathedral (and also the city wall) belongs to the ‘new’ fortified city of Kalmar, built in the mid-17th century. Before that, there was/is an even older Old Town, closer to the Castle (which we’ll be visiting in another post). The ‘new’ town was planned according to Renaissance ideals, with church and town hall across from one another in the town square. The cathedral was designed by the Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and is one of the foremost examples of classical baroque architecture in Sweden. The construction began in 1660, but was interrupted on several occasions, including a war. The cathedral was finally finished in 1703.


2018-07-19-02 Kalmar Domkyrka2




2018-07-19-02 Kalmar Domkyrka4

2018-07-19-02 Kalmar Domkyrka5

I have no details about the interior of the church, but while the main decorations may still be original baroque, there are definitely also a few items of later design. I did not go up front to take close-up photos, because there was a clergyman sitting there talking to a couple about some ceremony. (The stone baptismal font shaped like a ship was at the back of the church, or in a side aisle. I think they also had another one up front.)


  1. I love this wonderful little village, especially the yellow houses. You did not walk up on the wall ledge, DID YOU? I especially like the shot of the lovely roof with the bikes out front. The church is gorgeous, and you are right about looking like a Baroque palace. It is beautiful, and I love the color! Seeing the inside also is a real treat! They have the colors of your flag! And the pews have doors; I haven't seen that in a long time! There also appears to be marble pillars. So much to see inside, it is rather like a religious museum!

    1. Ginny, it's a broad substantial city wall with a proper footpath on top (and stairs here and there to get up and down). No risky balancing on narrow ledges involved!

  2. oh I like the colourful buildings and houses = they really stand out.

  3. Kalmar looks a beautiful town, well worth a visit. I like the buildings you snapped along the way. The church/cathedral is surprisingly uncluttered inside... I wonder whether the walls and ceilings were more colourful originally? Here, Baroque churches (and palaces) usually have very elobarately and "full" painted ceilings, sometimes also the walls.
    The baptismal font is a beautiful example of a more modern approach.

    1. Meike, like most old churches this cathedral has been going through a few restorations over the centuries; but as far as I can understand from the Swedish Wikipedia article, the walls and ceilings were always white. The last restoration was done as late as 2005-2011 and also included opening up some windows that during an earlier period had been blocked up (which I take to mean they were there in the original design).

  4. Like you, my first thoughts would not have been that the building was a cathedral. It is not really to my taste outside but it is astonishing inside. I love old towns where the houses all abut the road with no gardens.

    1. Graham, one might say that the cathedral offers a double surprise, because at first one is surprised by the outside - and then again by the inside! :)

  5. being up on the wall gave us a good view of the buildings, all the photos are wonderful and my favorite is the second up from the bottom, I love the cutouts in front of the windows, so beautiful.. much to see there and I bet you were exhausted from all that walking, but worth it.

    1. Sandra, I liked that silhouette tree and the font shaped like a ship too. As for "all that walking" - this was only the first half hour or so of a long day with a lot more walking involved! :)


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