Church Village of Gammelstad, Luleå

Church Village of Gammelstad, Luleå

Gammelstad, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, is the best-preserved example of a 'church village', a unique kind of village formerly found throughout northern Scandinavia. The 424 wooden houses, huddled round the early 15th-century stone church, were used only on Sundays and at religious festivals to house worshippers from the surrounding countryside who could not return home the same day because of the distance and difficult travelling conditions.

Village-église de Gammelstad, Luleå

Gammelstad, au fond du golfe de Botnie, est l'exemple le mieux préservé d'un type de ville unique répandu dans le nord de la Scandinavie, la ville-église. Ses 424 maisons en bois serrées autour de l'église en pierre du début du XVe siècle n'y étaient utilisées, en effet, que les jours de culte et de fêtes religieuses par les fidèles venus des campagnes environnantes que l'éloignement et des conditions naturelles difficiles empêchaient de rentrer chez eux.

القرية الكنسية في غاميلشتاد في لوليا

تشكل غاميلشتاد القابعة في عمق خليج بوثنيا المثال الأسلم على نموذج المدن-الكنيسة الفريدة من نوعها والمنتشرة شمال اسكاندينافيا. ولم تكن منازلها الخشبية التي يبلغ عددها 424 والمحيطة بالكنيسة الحجرية العائدة الى مطلع القرن الخامس عشر تستعمل سوى في أيام العبادة والأعياد الدينية حين ينزل فيها المؤمنون القادمون من القرى المحيطة والذين يحول البعد والظروف الطبيعية القاسية دون عودتهم الى ديارهم.

source: UNESCO/ERI

吕勒欧的格默尔斯达德教堂村

格默尔斯达德位于波的尼亚湾的顶端,是一处保存良好的存在于北欧斯堪的纳维亚半岛独特的教堂城镇的典范。424座木屋环绕着一座15世纪初兴建的石头教堂,房屋只在星期天和宗教节日里供那些周围村落的信民和因旅行条件所限,当日不能返家的外出的人居住。

source: UNESCO/ERI

“Церковный городок” Гаммельстад вблизи города Лулео

Гаммельстад, расположенный на северном побережье Ботнического залива, это наиболее хорошо сохранившийся образец “церковного городка” - уникального для наших дней вида поселения, в прежние времена встречавшегося по всей северной Скандинавии. Расположеныые здесь 424 деревянных дома, сгруппированных вокруг каменной церкви начала XV в., использовались только по воскресным дням или на религиозные праздники для размещения прихожан из сельской округи, которые не успевали вернуться домой в тот же день из-за больших расстояний и трудных условий передвижения.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Aldea-iglesia de Gammelstad (Luleå)

Situada en el fondo del golfo de Botnia, Gammelstad es el ejemplo mejor conservado de aldea-iglesia, un tipo singular de poblado antaño muy extendido por todo el norte de Escandinavia. Sus 424 casas de madera, agrupadas en torno a la iglesia de piedra de principios del siglo XV, sólo eran habitadas los domingos y fiestas de guardar por los feligreses de las comarcas circundantes, que no podían regresar en el mismo día a sus hogares debido a la distancia y las condiciones difíciles del trayecto.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ルーレオーのガンメルスタードの教会街

source: NFUAJ

Kerkdorp Gammelstad, Luleå

Gammelstad was vroeger een fjord aan de Botnische Golf. Het is het best bewaard gebleven voorbeeld van een ‘kerkdorp’, een uniek soort dorp dat vroeger overal te vinden was in Noord-Scandinavië. De 424 houten huizen zijn dicht op elkaar gebouwd rond de 15e-eeuwse stenen kerk en werden alleen gebruikt op zondag en tijdens religieuze feesten. Ze herbergden mensen uit het omringende gebied die niet terug naar huis konden op dezelfde dag door de afstand en moeilijke reisomstandigheden. Gammelstad is een mooi voorbeeld van een nederzetting gevormd op basis van religieuze en sociale behoeften in plaats van economische en geografische invloeden.

Source: unesco.nl

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Church Village of Gammelstad, Luleå © Stephan Herz
Justification for Inscription

The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (ii), (iv) and (v), considering that the site is of outstanding universal value as it is a remarkable example of the traditional church town of northern Scandanavia, and admirably illustrates the adaptation of conventional urban design to the special geographical and climatic conditions of a hostile natural environment.

Long Description

Luleå Gammelstad is a remarkable example of the traditional church town of northern Scandinavia, and illustrates the adaptation of conventional urban design to the special geographical and climatic conditions of a hostile natural environment. It is a type of milieu that has been shaped by people's religious and social needs rather than economic and geographical forces, being intended for use only during weekends and church festivals.

The Luleå river and its valley have provided a route between the Gulf of Bothnia and the mountains of Lapland, and beyond to the coast of northern Norway, from earliest times. Agricultural villages were established on the fertile lands as early as the 13th century, when the Swedish-Finnish kingdom expanded into this region as an act of deliberate colonization, to counteract Russian pressure. The size of the 14th century stone church of Gammelstad testifies to the prosperity of the region.

The settlement became the meeting place for three groups - merchants from the coastal regions of the Gulf of Bothnia, local farmers, and the Saamis (Lappons) of the hinterland. Of these, the farmers were the largest group by the mid-16th century. A social framework evolved around the parish church, influenced strongly by two factors - trade and church visits from outlying villages and farms, whose inhabitants were unable to attend church services and return home in a single day. The site of the church and its market place developed into a church town, i.e. a cluster of wooden cottages and stables to provide sleeping accommodation for churchgoers at weekends and festivals. The new settlement resulting from the relocation of the old harbour and of the trading centre closer to the sea took the name of Luleå, and was also known as Nystad (New Town). The earlier church site, renamed Gammelstad (Old Town), continued as the parish centre, although the parish itself had diminished in size as population growth led to the creation of new parishes. Because of the need to ensure that farm animals were continuously supervised, it was not possible for a family to take part in religious observances at the same time. As a result the tradition of 'church holidays' for older parishioners two or three times a year developed, along with an annual two weeks at midsummer for the younger people to meet, to prepare themselves for confirmation.

Gammelstad was untouched by the industrialization of the region in the later 19th century, made possible by the introduction of the railway from the south, which mitigated the isolation during winter, when the sea froze over. The advent of the car saw the gradual disappearance of most of the stables in the church town. Despite the relocation of the settlement to Luleå, the church village retained its town plan simply because there was no pressure for it to be changed during a period of stagnation. The houses built in the 20th century as part of the dormitory area of Luleå all lie outside the early settlement, and Gammelstad has retained its historical integrity.

The church town consists of 424 buildings, divided into 555 separate rooms. All are built from wood, painted red and with doors and window frames picked out in white. The doors, which face the street, are very varied in design, as are the window shutters, essential where buildings are not occupied continuously. Most of the doors bear a pyramid device, a motif from pagan antiquity reinterpreted as a Christian symbol depicting an altar with a sacrificial fire. The roofs were originally of wood, but with the advent of metal sheeting this became the favoured roofing material, to reduce fire risk and water leakage during thaws. A specific form of rolled steel sheeting has become accepted as the traditional roofing material.

The church is the largest of its type in northern Scandinavia. It was decorated by artists from Stockholm and is crowned with the coat of arms of the archbishop. The bell tower (1852) is detached from the church, an unusual feature in this region. Notable buildings within the area are the Chapel of Bethel on the church square; the Cottage of the Separatists: the Parish House, built in 1754; the imposing Tithe Barn (1790); and a number of private houses, notably the Mayor's Residence, the Captain's Residence, and the Guest House, mostly dating from the foundation of the 17th century town.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The Lule river and its valley have provided an effective route between the Gulf of Bothnia and the mountains of Lapland, and beyond to the coast of northern Norway, from earliest times. Agricultural villages had been established on the fertile lands along the coast and in the lower portion of the river valley as early as the 13th century. A market centre developed on the islands in the Lulea district in the 14th century. When the Swedish-Finnish kingdom, supported by the Archbishop of Uppsala, expanded into this region as an act of deliberate colonization, to counteract Russian pressure, the present stone church of Gammelstad was built at the turn of the 14th century. Its unusual size and lavish decoration testify both to the prosperity of the region, based on trade in furs and fish from Lapland, and to its political and religious significance.

The settlement became the meeting place for three groups- merchants from the coastal regions of the Gulf of Bothnia, local farmers, and the Sami (Lapps) of the hinterland. Of these, the farmers were the largest group: the parish of Lulea comprised 47 villages with over 400 farms by the mid-16th century. A social framework evolved around the parish church, influenced strongly by two factors - trade and church visits from outlying villages and farms, whose inhabitants were unable to attend church services and return to their homes within a single day. BY the beginning of the 17th century the site of the church and its neighbouring market place had developed into a church town (a translation of the Swedish term for this type of settlement), ie a cluster of wooden cottages and stables to provide sleeping accommodation for churchgoers at weekends and festivals. This type of settlement is considered to have developed from several sources: the dormitory cottages of merchants who visited it only occasionally; the stables built near churches to protect horses during the bitter winters of northern Sweden, and the legal obligation upon parishioners to attend Sunday services and religious festivals. In all, 71 church towns were created in northern Sweden.

At the same time the merchant town developed on more formal lines, with the granting of a town charter in 1621, as part of a deliberate policy of regulating trade. BY this time the merchants were all local inhabitants: the earlier links with Stockholm had been severed. However, the phenomenon of progressive land upheaval following the end of the last Ice Age led to the abandonment of the old harbour and the relocating of the trading centre closer to the sea in the mid-17th century; the new settlement took the name of Lulea, and was also known as Nystan (New Town), the earlier church site being renamed Gammelstad (Old Town).

Gammelstad continued as the parish centre, though the parish itself had diminished in size as population growth led to the creation of new parishes. lt was an administrative and judicial centre, and also provided the focus for social activities of all kinds. Because of the need to ensure that farm animals were continuously supervised, it was not possible for an entire family to take part in religious observances at the same time. As a result the tradition of "church holidays" for older parishioners two or three times a year developed, along with an annual two-week period at midsummer for the younger people to meet, to prepare themselves for confirmation.

Gammelstad was untouched by the industrialization of the region in the later 19th century, made possible by the introduction of the railway from the south, which mitigated the isolation during winter. when the sea froze over. The advent of the automobile saw the gradual disappearance of most of the stables in the church town. Despite the relocation of the settlement to Lulea, the church village (ie that area of houses that were permanently occupied), this quarter retained its town plan simply because there was no pressure for it to be changed during a period of stagnation. As a result the houses built in the 20th century as part of the dormitory area of Lulea all lie outside the early settlement, and Gammelstad has retained its historical integrity.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation