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Vasamuseet and Skansen

SWEDEN | Sunday, 19 August 2012 | Views [1161]

"Warning: Close gunports before sailing," Vasamuseet, Stockholm

Eat your heart out, Clive Cussler!  The Swedish warship Vasa, a true marvel in the 17th Century, sank less than an hour into its maiden voyage.  It was poorly designed (too narrow and top-heavy) and was insufficiently ballasted.  Since the king himself designed Vasa, no one was willing to point out its deficiencies.  To make matters worse, the extra row of gunports was too near the waterline and the hatches were open to the sea.  

Vasa sank in front of most of the population of Stockholm right in the harbor.  Although he never accepted the blame the king ordered the masts cut off below water-line so he wouldn't be reminded of the disater.  And so Vasa disappeared not only from sight but from memory.  For 300 years.

It was raised in 1952 and a seemingly impossible restoration process began.  The results are on exhibit at the amazing Vasamuseet in Stockholm.  The nearly complete ship along with artifacts recovered from the site, including the skeletons of some crewmen, tell the story of the Vasa and its recovery.

   Costumed guides add to the experience

For a more upbeat look at Sweden visit Skanden, 75 acres of living history just across the street.  Since 1891 buildings from around Sweden have been brought to Skanden and reconstructed into a historic village. Costumed guides add to the ambiance and fill in details of the actual people who live in the dwellings.

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