Virtual walk - experience the history of Gothenburg
Gothenburg is 400 years old and the city looks very different today compared to the 17th century (the 1600s). The oldest houses that still remain are Kronhuset, in Västra Nordstaden, and Residenset (The Govenor's House) at Stora Hamnkanalen, both from the 1650s. In the 17th and 18th centuries most houses were built of wood, sometimes with brick facades facing the street or plastered half-timbered gables.
The stone city of Gothenburg was only built after major fires in the middle of the 19th century. But in the 17th century, the city looked very different. The buildings were lower and consisted mostly of city courtyards where each plot had pets and crops in the backyard.
The streets were lined with cobblestones and the canals were reinforced using wooden logs. It was not until the middle of the 18th century that the city got stone canal walls.
This historical walk requires a smartphone with a camera that can photograph QR-codes, which then opens the YouTube app and displays a 360-video of your current location. The 17th-century videos then correspond to the rotation of your phone and there is a 360-degree view of the location. The total walking distance is around 4.4 kilometers (2.7 miles). You can also download the map on your smartphone.
Visualization of 17th-century Gothenburg
At the square Drottningtorget – The Queens Square - there used to be a moat. To the west at the height of the hot dog stand behind Eggers, Nyeport (The New Gate) was built. One of Gothenburg's five gates that would later be called Drottningporten – The Queens Gate, hence the name of the square. The gate was of a simpler design and was well protected behind several layers of fortifications.
Here we are on Norra Hamngatan with a view of Järnvågen – The Iron Scale - which was a mighty building that covered the entire current Brunnsparken. The building was built in 1685 on an islet in the canal. Here, all iron that was shipped down the Göta River was weighed for export to Europe. The Iron Scale moved down to Järnvågspiren by Järntorget in 1785 and then that activity ceased here. Unfortunately, the house burned down in 1813, which made it possible to build Brunnsparken.
The square remains where it was originally placed when the city was built in 1619. It was called Stora Torget (The Big Square) until the statue of the king Gustav II Adolf was placed here in 1854 when it got its current name. To the north was Stadshuset (The Town Hall) and to the west was Rådhuset (The City Hall). Here was the center of the city´s power. Remarkably, none of the churches were placed next to the square, even though it may have been a demonstration of power.
Kronhuset (The Crown House) was the city's textile warehouse, where the garrison kept its equipment. It was built during the years 1643-1654 and is considered together with the Residence to be the city's oldest building. The Swedish Parliament was held here in 1660. Other buildings at Kronhusgården (The Crown House yard) were built after the fires of 1746 and 1748.
Sankt Erik was the bastion between Stora and Lilla Bommen at the foot of Kvarnberget. Here the city was protected from the river. Kvarnberget was originally called Lilla Otterhällan but changed its name during the 1670s and 80s. From the very beginning of the city, however, there was a mill here. The mountain was undeveloped for a long time, but during the 18th century, unintended and unplanned buildings were built on the east side.
Stora Bommen was the city's most important gate. Here all goods were shipped out and into the city before and after sale. North of Stora Hamnkanalen at the current Packhusplatsen was previously Masthamnen with the adjacent custom house. Here the city could toll all loads, which was perhaps the main reason why the city was built. Across the canal is the Torstenson Palace, later the Royal Palace, now The Governor's House. It is considered the city's oldest preserved house and was built as a private residence for Count Lennart Torstenson. King Karl X Gustav also died here in 1660 when the parliament was assembled in the city.
The square next to Stora Hamnkanalen was formerly called Fisketorget (The Fish Square) but got its current name as early as the beginning of the 18th century. As the name reveals, there were recurring fish sales here and an annual fish market was held at Larsmässan.
From the bastion Carolus Rex you had a view towards the mouth of the river and Älvsborg's fortress. It is one of three bastions on Lilla Otterhällan which together were called Otterhälleverken. They were built around the end of the 18th century as another line of defense behind the older bastions Christina Regina, the Government, and Hållgårdsbastionen.
The King´s Square - Kungstorget with Saluhallen (The Market Hall) previously consisted of the bastion Johannes Dux. The moat is in its original location and from the top of the bastion you had a view of what is today Kungsparken and Vasastaden, then a treeless grazing land.11 The Cathedral
Here we are on the edge of Västra Hamnkanalen with a view of Domkyrkoplan and the Church of Sweden, also called Gustavi Church. On Domkyrkoplan, 20,000 of the early Gothenburgers are said to have been buried between 1635 and 1802. The house at the front edge closest to Östra Hamngatan was the city's upper secondary school between 1647 and 1824.
The German church is also called Christinae church after Queen Christina. It was built in the late 17th century next to Stora Hamnkanalen. It was originally a church for the city's Dutch and German population.