Traveller By Birth

An influencing photo travel blog where exploration is limitless

Facts and Fables of Gamla Stan

While wandering in the old town, I came across to the knowledge of some very juicy stories. Some of which are sure facts and some are mere rumours. In my previous blog “Must do’s in Gamla Stan, Stockholm“; I referred to a story section which is the most intriguingly interesting part of Gamla Stan for someone who loves stories and books and Harry Potter. Let me tell you few of my favourite facts and fables of Gamla Stan which really got my eyeballs rolling in some way or the other.


The Stockholm Bloodbath:

#1 Facts and Fables of Gamla Stan

This is a very brutal scene that took place in 1520 which completely shook me and took me to dismay.  I had already shared the story on Instagram before and the post of which is below. ( Read the description of the post)

The spookiness doesn’t end here. There are also rumours saying that when it rains heavily, people can still see blood flowing along with the rain water through the cobblestones. Despite the fact that this square has witnessed such a harrowing incident, it also holds a beautiful Christmas market every year; which, hopefully, would be bringing peace to the souls.

Mr. Man’s Cat:

#2 Facts and Fables of Gamla Stan

Once upon a time, a ship was sailing towards Sweden. Suddenly the wind died completely. Not the slightest breeze took place in three days. The coxswain, then, threw a coin over the mainsail edge which when reached the surface, opened the sea and a staircase appeared. A young beautiful lady was standing at the staircase, who took the coxswain to her sea palace through the stairs.

She, then, gave him a letter saying that, upon reaching to Stockholm, he must search for a house at Vasterlanggatan street where he would find two maids and ask for Mr. Mans, to whom he should give this letter. She ordered him to deliver the letter first thing, as soon as he reaches.

The coxswain agreed and when he returned to the ship, the wind started blowing. When he reached Stockholm after five days, his men and him started unloading the goods from the ship.

Few days later, he went to the Vasterlanggatan and found two maids sitting at one house. As soon as he asked for Mr. Mans, the maids started laughing deviously. They said that there is no Mr. Mans here and only one cat that arrived few days back and is living here since then. All of a sudden, the towering cat came from behind of the coxswain and asked for the letter in a human voice. As the cat read the letter, it burst into tears and blamed the coxswain for not bringing the letter immediately. It clawed the coxswain to death and jumped out of the window. The cat turned into a stone, over the doorway, where it still can be seen today.

Stories of Gamla Stan

No one, not even the city scribe, could decipher the strange text written in the letter.

Fun Fact about the buildings:

#3 Facts and Fables of Gamla Stan

All the buildings at Gamla Stan are centuries old. So, it is hard to identify the exact period of a particular building’s construction. Well, to know the exact year, you might have to turn the pages of history books but there is a trick to know the century of its establishment.

Watch out for the anchor ends. These are the iron mountings at the end of the beam carrying the house. They were beautifully moulded into a design which can be used to read the age of a building.

Here is the guide for it:

Stories of Gamla Stan

Stories of Gamla Stan

Stories of Gamla Stan

Ghosts of the Royal Palace

#4 Facts and Fables of Gamla Stan

The two famous and friendly ghosts of the Drottningholm Palace are the “White Lady” and the “Grey Monk”.  The white lady is seen wearing a white dress and a long white veil. When she walks, the keys clanks that she is holding with her hands and she appears only when someone in the royal family is about to die.

Stories of Gamla Stan
Royal Palace of Sweden
Stories of Gamla Stan
Illustration of Birger Jarl building his fortress in 1252


The grey monk is believed to be the ghost of Birger Jarl. He was the founder of Stockholm and he lived in a fortress in 13th century. Later, this fortress was evolved into the royal palace and was completed in 1830. It is said that the grey man has appeared, at least once, in front of every reigning king of Stockholm.

Narrowest street of Gamla Stan:

#5 Facts and Fables of Gamla Stan

Marten Trotzig, a wealthy merchant trading in copper and iron, hailed from Germany to Stockholm in 1581. He owned two houses separated by an alley, which is just 90 metres wide at its narrowest point. This alley also has 36 stairs and that’s why, initially, it was known as the “stair alley”. Later it was renamed as the Marten Trotzig grand, the narrowest street of the old town of Stockholm. He became one of the most powerful and richest man of Stockholm. But, sadly, while conducting business, he was attacked and murdered in 1617 in Falun in north-central Sweden. 

The alley can be quite daunting when the narrowness gets obvious. As you take each step upwards towards the rising stairs, the street constricts. It can be either magical or claustrophobic for some. Yet, it is a unique alley as it is amongst the oldest features of the city dating back to the middle ages.

Did you enjoy reading these facts and fables of Gamla Stan as much as I enjoyed telling them? Let me know in the comments below and also share other tales that you know about. Also react and share the article with your story book siblings/companion.

Happy Reading 📚 🙂



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10 thoughts on “Facts and Fables of Gamla Stan

    1. Hey Gaurav!! Thanks for the comment and the compliment. I’ll surely check out your website right away. 🙂

  1. I love a city with stories and history. I’ll going to haveto add this place to my travel bucket list now – thanks… Xxxx
    Stunning pictures and content..

  2. This was super interesting and enjoyable to read! The white lady and grey monk…do you know if they’re the inspiration for the Grey Lady and Fat Monk in Harry Potter?

    1. Hmm, I didn’t think of that but now that you’ve mentioned, it could be possible. Wow! that would be so awesome, right? Also, I feel ecstatic that you enjoyed reading the post. Thanks a lot 🙂

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