Glory of the Sunken Ship

Stockholm has a lot to offer-a good blend of city life and nature, constantly unpredictable weather, the world’s longest art gallery and lots of museums. And you should experience all of these. One of the museums that everyone mentioned when I came to Sweden was Vasa Museum. I, being an admirer of history, was completely sold to the idea of an old wrecked salvaged and turned into a museum.

However, it took me seven months since I came here to actually pay the big ship a visit. But better late than never right? Alas the trip was only an hour long since the museum closes at 5pm and we had to see the cherry blossoms in Kungstragarden before going at the museum.

The Vasa Museum or the “Vasa Museet” is located near the Nordic Museum in Djurgarden. The gardens around the museum look very pretty these days, owing to the blossoming flowers and the lush green grass. From a distance you can appreciate the mast of the ship poking through the roof of the museum. At the entrance you can find instructions for the different levels of the museum and mp3 guides.

For those who do not have a thing for history and antiques, it is a big ship that was built in 1628, sank on the Stockholm harbour, remained submerged in water for 333 years and was salvaged in 1961. And maybe that is all there is to it.

But for people who like history or maybe forensic medicine there are specimens like skeletons of the seamen and their clothing articles. Estimations of what the seamen or sea-women might have been and what conditions they could possibly have suffered from or even what their rank or job on the ship was.

There is also a glimpse of Swedish life during 17th century on the entrance floor, which is simple and minimalistic for today’s world. On level 5 the audio guide tells you about how life on board the deck was for the seamen. I did somehow feel that life must have been very depressing as a seaman. Exquisite as it might come across, the Vasa like every other ship had cramped quarters for the men on deck. Little living space and smelly conditions easily led to disease outbreaks.

What I personally found amazing were the carvings on the ship, the sculptures and the canons, a treat for my eyes and my camera’s lens as well. This you see and hear on the audio guide regarding the artistic adornment of the Vasa and the symbolism behind all of it. I loved this part.

What turns out to be a disappointment is that the Vasa did not have a dramatic end like the Titanic. It merely toppled over due to a strong gust of wind. Thankfully most of the people swam to shore so not many lives were lost which is actually a good thing but not dramatic enough for our Hollywood cinema inspired minds.

Definitely recommended, have fun!


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