Örebro

“Your structure is under attack!” Geeks will get it.

Örebro is a relatively large Swedish city, located about halfway between Stockholm and Göteburg, which made it the perfect stop during my Scandinavian trip in the summer of 2019. Although I was only there for half a day, I managed to see its most impressive sight, the massive castle on the river island.

I visited Örebro on the way from Västerås to Jönköping, because I managed to get a cheap train ticket for that route. However, I also really wanted to stop in Örebro to see the castle, so I took an early morning train from Västerås, stuffed my bloated backpack into the train station locker and spent half the day in the city before boarding the train again.

I refused to pay extra for a larger locker, so this took quite a bit of maneouvring and a bit of unpacking. However, if it fits, it fits!

A few minutes down the road, I got my first glimpse of the Örebro castle. It is a massive fort that just screams solidity, built on a too small island in the river Svartån, which runs through the city. Have I mentioned it’s massive? Well, it is so imposing, that it took me a minute to notice the giant green tentacles sticking out of it.

After a short walk around, I saw other colourful, clearly temporary art structures and a quick Internet search revealed that my timing was superb. I’d managed to visit right during the OpenArt festival, Scandinavia’s largest outdoor exhibition of contemporary art, which is held every two years (I was there in 2019) for 12 weeks. There were all sorts of details, colours and sculptures everywhere, as well as an oversized bench that I’m not really sure if it was a part of the festival or not. Obviously, I loved it.

I decided to take a closer look at the castle and ventured inside. Although they’re not entirely sure when the castle was first built, there is evidence of a stronghold built on the same spot in the 14th century, which was often beseiged and involved in Swedish royal conflicts during the Middle Ages. It was renovated during the Renaissance era and fell into disrepair later on, occasionally serving as a prison. Apparently the notorious Swedish 19th century cross dressing thief Lasse-Maja, who later became quite the iconic LGBT historical figure, also did time in Örebro castle.

Impressions of Örebro

To be fair, the castle owes its current appearance to the restoration efforts in the 20th century, which were trying to restore it to the Renaissance era and might have gone a bit overboard. Either way, it’s a pretty impressive castle specimen and have I mentioned that it’s massive? I’m sure I did. 🙂

Funnily enough, my first impression of Örebro was that of a cosy town, and I only later realised that it is in fact Sweden’s 6th largest city and has it’s own university. Since I didn’t have much time, I only got to see the castle and a bit of the city centre around it, although Wadköping, the open air museum village in the old town, is also supposed to be worth a visit. I’ve added it to my list and I know I will definitely be returning to explore more of the city again at some point, hopefully again during the OpenArt festival.

In the end, I leave you with these castle words of wisdom.

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