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Stockholm Sweden, Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum is a must see when visiting Stockholm.  Located on a small island  a short distance from the center of town, it can be reached a variety of ways.  We chose the ferry from Slussen and headed over for opening at 8:30 to beat the crowds.  Since it was raining, this ended up being the perfect place to be as the rain stopped and the sky cleared as our visit ended.

The Vasa was a warship built to be the pride of the Swedish Navy boasting 64 bronze cannons.  It was built for a crew of 450 men of which 300 were soldiers as the ship was built in a time where enemy ships were captured by boarding versus canon warfare.  She was also very ornate, with hundreds of heavy wood carvings painted in bright colors.

The maiden voyage was 383 years ago today on August 10, 1628.  She did not have the glorious seagoing history she was built to experience.  Instead she was headed for a different fate because on that glorious day, as thousands watched her set sail in Stockholm harbor they soon watched in horror as it capsized.  And sank.  Yes sank after sailing 4,265 feet!  The ship suffered from instability issues of not enough draft and wide enough beam to support the heavy weight above the water line.

The ship was finally discovered again in 1956 and after five years it was raised from the sea floor.  The ship made her final sail to her current museum which was opened in 1990. 

Hundreds of sculptures on the ship reflect how King Gustav Adolf wanted the world to see Sweden and himself.  Above the stern of the vessel as it appears now.  Below  is what the stern would have looked like at the time the ship sailed.

The Vasa as historians believe she looked as she sailed on her inaugural journey.  An estimated thirty sailors lost their lives that day, several of which were finally recovered when the ship was raised.  The museum houses hundreds of artifacts and remains of several of those who perished.  This is a great museum and a must see as you journey back in time to that fateful day on August 10, 1628. 

More information on the Vasa Museum can be found here: http://www.vasamuseet.se/en/

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