October 5, 2010

Skogskyrkogården (Woodland Cemetery)


Skogskyrkogården is a large, forrested cemetery just south of Stockholm. You might be wondering why I would recommend visiting a cemetery while in Stockholm, but Skogskyrkogården is, in fact, a UNESCO World Heritage site (a place of significant natural or cultural value). Completed in 1920, the cemetery was designed by Swedish architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz blending architecture with the natural landscape to create a wonderfully tranquil enviroment. I love coming here in the autumn, taking a long walk through the grounds... admiring the architecture as well as the natural beauty. Be aware that it is a "working" cemetery and they have around 2,000 burials per year, so be respectful of any services in progress. Unfortunately, the visitors' center and guided tours are only open/available during the summer months. But this doesn't mean you can't explore on your own! You can download a visitors' guide (complete with map) from their website in pdf-form. Of special interest for many is the grave site of Swedish actress Greta Garbo. One of the most popular days to visit the cemetery is All Saints/Hallows Day, but, once again, remember to be respectful of the people there visiting family graves. It is quite easy to get to the cemetery from the Rival Hotel. Just take the subway from Slussen, green line going south in the direction of Farsta Strand. Exit at Skogskyrkogård station (about a 10 minute trip) and turn right as you leave the station. The entrance is 100 meters on the right hand side.
Gunnar Asplund, a representative of Swedish neo-classical architecture, is one of the most influential modernist Swedish architects. Besides Skogskyrkogård, another of his major works can be found in the city... The Stockholm Public Library. The library is located just north of the downtown area on Sveavägen. The closest subway station is Odenplan (green line).

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