Skyline of Karlskrona

Coat of arms
Coordinates: 56°9′39″N 15°35′10″E / 56.16083°N 15.58611°E / 56.16083; 15.58611Coordinates: 56°9′39″N 15°35′10″E / 56.16083°N 15.58611°E / 56.16083; 15.58611
Country Sweden
Province Blekinge
County Blekinge County
Municipality Karlskrona Municipality
Charter 1680
  Total 21.72 km2 (8.39 sq mi)
Elevation 16 m (52 ft)
Population (31 December 2010)[1]
  Total 35 212
  Density 1,621/km2 (4,200/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 371 xx
Area code(s) (+46) 455
Website www.karlskrona.se
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Naval Port of Karlskrona
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 871
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1998 (22nd Session)

Karlskrona (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈkɑːɭsˌkruːna]) is a locality and the seat of Karlskrona Municipality, Blekinge County, Sweden with 35,212 inhabitants in 2010.[1] It is also the capital of Blekinge County. Karlskrona is known as Sweden's only baroque city and is host to Sweden's only remaining naval base and the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard.


The city of Karlskrona is spread over 30 islands in the eastern part of Blekinge archipelago, Trossö being the main one;.[2] Other populated mentionable islands are Saltö, Sturkö, Hästö, Långö and Aspö. The islet of Stumholmen was formerly property of the Navy and today it houses the National Naval Museum (Marinmuseum). Outside the city lies the archipelago of Karlskrona, the most southern of the Swedish archipelagos. Several islands are connected to the city by ferries.


The city was founded in 1680 when the Royal Swedish Navy was relocated from the Stockholm area to the Trossö island which had up until then been used chiefly for farming and grazing. At the time Sweden was the dominant military power in the Baltic sea region, but needed a better strategic location against Denmark, since southern parts of Sweden had been conquered only a few decades before (see the Torstenson War). The Swedish fleet tended to get stuck in the ice during winter while located close to Stockholm and was therefore moved south. The island had a very strategic position with short sailing distances to the German and Baltic provinces. The city name means Karl's Crown in honour of King Karl XI of Sweden, the name being inspired by the name of the city Landskrona.

The city grew quickly and by 1750 Karlskrona had about 10,000 inhabitants. It was then one of the biggest cities in the country. Most of the baroque buildings from this era are still standing, which is why the city centre is architecturally uniform.

The shipyard in Karlskrona was established almost at the same time as the city. It was a necessity because of the heavy losses the Swedish navy had suffered in 1659. In 1711, the shipyard was Sweden's largest industrial employer with 1,100 workers. The oldest dock, the Polhem dock, is cut in the cliff itself and is still in use. It got its name from Christopher Polhem ("The Swedish da Vinci", a famous scientist with several inventions still in use). There is also a historical rope making factory, Repslagarbanan, that is now open for guided tour.

The city has kept its street structure since its foundation. Since the streets all follow a grid pattern the winds can blow freely from the sea right into the heart of the city.

Parts of the city (mainly the Naval Port) have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[3]

In October 1981 the Whiskey-class Soviet submarine S-363 (known as "U137" in Sweden) ran aground in the archipelago near Sturkö just outside Karlskrona. The media characterized it as the "Whiskey on the Rocks" affair. The incident caused a temporary rise in tensions between Sweden and the Soviet Union. While the submarine's grounding was inadvertent, and likely the result of inebriation among the crew, the submarine almost certainly was engaged in an unspecified covert mission at the time.


The most important day in Karlskrona is the day before midsummer's eve. On that day a big fair takes place and attracts tens of thousands to visit Karlskrona. The fair is called Lövmarknaden (The Leaf Fair) and is very popular among the locals.

The main square of Karlskrona is the biggest in Scandinavia.

Every year in late July/early August a popular festival called The Sail takes place in the harbor of Karlskrona. Usually it is a place where families go to have something to eat and drink, and perhaps watch the sailing boats lined up at the pier. During the sail, the seascouts of Karlskrona will row a boat carrying torches along the docks while playing the national anthems for the visiting ships.

Lately The Sail has been replaced with a festival called Skärgårdsfest.Karlskrona Skärgårdsfest

The old architecture together with the naval installations comprise the major tourist attractions of Karlskrona. The city has a pleasant atmosphere and is one of the highlights of south-east Sweden.


Some of the biggest employers in Karlskrona are Telenor, Ericsson and Roxtec. The city has an overall strong presence in information technology based industries.


The city is positioned at the south east corner of Sweden with excellent connections to the other side of the Baltic Sea. There is a ferry line to Gdynia in Poland transporting both goods and passengers provided by the ferry operator, Stena Line.

Most of the islands of Karlskrona are connected by roads. One of the bigger populated Islands Aspö is connected with a small road ferry. Boats also travel between the archipelago's various islands during the summer months.


Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan (Church of Holy Trinity)

There are three important churches in Karlskrona. Fredrikskyrkan (The Frederick church) was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, who was influenced by European architecture. The foundation of that church were laid in 1720, and it was inaugurated in 1744. It differs from usual Swedish churches in its yellow color and its adornment.

Trefaldighetskyrkan (Church of Holy Trinity), also called The German Church, was built between 1697–1709, following Tessin's drawings. It is likewise located at the market square in the centre core. The dome-shaped roof takes its influence from Italian architecture and is rarely seen on Swedish churches.

Karlskrona Admiralty Church (Amiralitetskyrkan) was built in 1685 in red-painted wood. Outside the church there is a well-known statue called Rosenbom.


Aerial view of Karlskrona

There is also a Catholic Church, St Klara, at Lindesnäsvägen 2b, 371 45 Karlskrona



The following sports clubs are located in Karlskrona:

In literature

In The Surgeon's Mate by Patrick O'Brian, Karlskrona is the base for the British Baltic fleet, approximately 1813, when the two nations were at peace with each other and allied against Napoleon. Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin start an action to free a group of Catalan forces still in French service on a fictional island on the Pomeranian coast. The estimable Vice Admiral Sir James Saumarez is still in command of the Baltic fleet for the purpose of the novel.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Tätorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2005 och 2010" (in Swedish). Statistics Sweden. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  2. Berezin, Henrik (30 April 2006). Adventure Guide Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway, & Denmark. Hunter Publishing, Inc. pp. 120–. ISBN 978-1-58843-579-8. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  3. "Karlskrona". www.worldheritagesite.org. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
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