3 things that shook Sweden

1. THE WITCH PROCESSES

Witch processes occurred in Sweden from the end of the 15th century and until 1704. However, the worst hysteria occurred during the short period between 1668 and 1676, a period sometimes referred to as “The Great Disease”. Then, about three hundred people, most women, were executed, charged with witchcraft. The most extensive process took place in Torsåker (today belonging to Kramfors municipality), where 71 people were eventually executed.

Ur TV-serien Häxornas tid. Foto TV4

From the TV series The witches time. Photo TV4

Häxberget, Torsåker
Here, Sweden’s largest documented mass execution was carried out in peacetime when 71 people charged with witchcraft were beheaded and burned in 1675. Of those executed, 65 were women – every fifth adult woman in Torsåker’s pastorate. On the mountain there is today a memorial stone and information boards that tell about the event.

The Witch Museum, Prästmon
“The faith of the times affects man” is an exhibition about the witch processes in Torsåker. The exhibition tells digital and interactive technology and traditional artistic expression a dark story but also asks questions about our present.

Torsåker church, Torsåker
One of the diocese’s oldest churches that is still in use and also the place where the condemned people received their death sentences and the last supper.

The road towards Bålberget
Therése Söderlind’s noted novel about the witch processes that span four centuries. Historical novel and contemporary Norrland painting in one, but the story is firmly anchored in the Torsåker events.

2. THE GUN FIRE IN THE ÅDALEN

A workers’ conflict in mid-May 1931 led to a confrontation between demonstrating workers and the military in Lunde. Five people were killed when the military opened fire to the unarmed workers. The Scots in Ådalen had an enormous symbolic value and have become one of the most mythologized events in Swedish political history. Also called “Ådalshändningar” and “Ådalen -31”.

Minnesmonumentet i Lunde.

Frånö Folkets Hus, Vanö
Here members gathered for trade unions and political organizations, mainly social democratic, to decide on protest measures against the strike breakers who were taken in to Ådalen. From here, the demonstration train against Lunde also departed, which was later fired by the military.

Memory sculpture, Lunde
Lenny Carlhäll’s “Memorial to the fallen in Ådalen 1931” was inaugurated in 1981 and is located in Lunde, near the site of the deadly shots.

Tombstone, Gudmundrå Church, Kramfors
Four of the five victims of the shots in Lunde were buried in a common grave in the cemetery at Gudmundrå Church in Kramfors. On the grave there is a plate with the poem by Erik Blomberg which is often quoted in connection with the events: “Here a Swedish worker / fallen in peace time rests / armsless defenseless / arched by unknown bullets / The crime was hunger / Never forget him

3. THE CITY FIRE IN SUNDSVALL

On the same day, June 25, 1888, the fire consumed two of the largest cities in the North Sea, Umeå and Sundsvall. In nine hours most of Sundsvall burned down to the ground and 9,000 people became homeless. Sundsvall was then a very expansive city and with local capital, insurance money and funds raised, the city was rebuilt, but now it was decided that only stone houses were to be built in the central city. The result was Stenstan, a center with beautiful and lavish stone houses and wide esplanades. Today, Stenstan is classified as a national interest for cultural environment care.

The Vängåvan fountain was damaged in the city fire in 1888.

Stenstan
51 blocks crossed by 7 crossroads and 11 crossroads – this is the most pure example of the 1890s town in the whole country. Stroll in the center and admire the architectural diversity, the lavish exteriors and the imaginative details.

Stenstan Visitor Center
The Stenstan Visitor Center is a mixture of information space, gallery and tourist office located in the City Hall in the center. Here you get to immerse yourself in the city’s historical architecture, but also in the people who live and once lived there. You can also learn more about everything from the buildings’ decorations, artists and musicians to merchants and architects.

City tours
It is 130 years since the city fire and the Sundsvall museum arrange several city walks related to the fire and its most tangible consequence for us today, Stenstan.

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