Kungsträdgården – the King’s Garden – is a handsome sliver of greenery in the heart of modern Stockholm. It’s more of a meeting place than a proper park, with wrought iron benches tucked beneath mature willow trees and a couple of pretty cafés selling hot coffee.
For a large chunk of the 1800s this long strip of real estate was a sandy parade ground: a place where the king’s troops would come to train and show off their skills.
Today the royal theme continues. At the square’s southern end is a statue of Karl XII, who ruled Sweden during the Great Northern War. The conflict marked the beginning of the end for Sweden’s empire and ushered in a new era with Russia, rather than Sweden, as the big Baltic power.
Unveiled 150 years after his death, the statue shows the king pointing east – towards the old enemy. Proof, perhaps, that wounds take time to heal.
Otherwise Kungsträdgården is simply a nice place to chill out. There’s a big fountain at its centre, while open-air concerts and food festivals take place just a little further north.
The nearest T-bana station is Kungsträdgården, just off the square’s eastern edge.
Last updated: October 2014