Karlskrona, Sweden

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Karlskrona is a locality and the seat of Karlskrona Municipality, Blekinge County, Sweden with 32,606 inhabitants in 2005. It is also the capital of Blekinge County. Karlskrona is known as Sweden’s only baroque city and is host to Sweden’sonly remaining naval base and the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard. The city centre is located on the islet of Trossö. The islet of Stumholmen was formerly property of the Navy and today it houses the National Naval Museum (Marinmuseum).

The city was founded in 1680 when the Royal Swedish Navy was relocated from the mainland to the island which had up until then been used chiefly for farming and grazing. At the time Sweden was the dominant military power in the Baltic sea region. The island had a very strategic position with short sailing distances to the German and Baltic provinces. Its name means Karl’s Crown in honour of King Karl XI of Sweden, the name being inspired by the name of the city Landskrona. The most important day in Karlskrona is the day before midsummer’s eve. On that day a big fair takes place and attracts tens of thousands to visit Karlskrona. The fair is called Lövmarknaden (The Leaf Fair) and is very popular among the locals.

The main square of Karlskrona is the biggest in Scandinavia, and actually the second biggest in Europe, after the Red Square of Moscow. Every year in late July/early August a popular festival called The Sail takes place in the harbor of Karlskrona. Usually it is a place where families go to have something to eat and drink, and perhaps watch the sailing boats lined up at the pier. During the sail, the seascouts of Karlskrona will row a boat carrying torches along the docks while playing the national anthems for the visiting ships. The old architecture together with the naval installations comprise the major tourist attractions of Karlskrona. The city has a pleasant atmosphere and is one of the highlights of south-east Sweden. Outside the city lies the archipelago of Karlskrona, the most southern of the Swedish archipelagos. Several islands are connected to the city by ferries.

The naval installations there has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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