Day 12 : Vasa Museet

30Jan16

 

800px-Vasamuseet_2008

I woke up late this Saturday and missed the walking tour at Slussen. Having made no other plans till lunch, a friend and I set out to explore the city. We got on what seemed like a sight seeing boat only to realize midway it was actually a ferry. A kind lady, a fan of one of India’s spiritual gurus, was happy to see our brown faces and struck up a conversation. She laughed at our mistake and suggested to get off at the island of Djurgården, home to several places of interests including Vasamuseet, Stockholm’s most popular museum.

Vasa

The entrance fees cost SEK 130(~INR1000) for adults (SEK 110 for students and free for children upto 18 yrs old), which is steep when compared to the prices at Indian museums(max Rs100). Once your eyes gets adjusted to the dimness you will marvel at the massive warship in front of you. The Vasa is the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged. The ship was built on the orders of the King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus during a war with Poland. However the ship sank within 20 minutes of it maiden voyage because the base of the ship was too narrow compared to its height and weight of its guns. The Vasa remained underwater for 333 years before it was salvaged; incredibly in almost pristine condition. Over 90% of the ship displayed is original. Read the whole story here.

Walk around the Vasa’s exterior where information cards are kept at various points. I would suggest joining one of the free tours by the staff (there is one in English every 15 minutes or so). On the upper levels two of the original 64 guns are on display. No one’s allowed on board, but you can walk through a recreation of one of the gun decks. Watch out for the low ceiling. Although the ship is obviously the main attraction, the museum has expanded over the years to include exhibits on 17th-century life and shipbuilding, and features numerous models and dioramas. At the lower level several of the skeletons retrieved are on display, as are reconstructed models of how they would have looked alive. Also check out the gift shop for your special Vasa souvenirs.

The amount of detail and the experience is incredible. Walking out, I feel sad that India doesn’t have something similar, despite our rich history.

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