Capital Stockholm is Venice of the North

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 June, 1994, 12:00am

WITH its harbour and its quays, Stockholm - one of the most beautiful cities in the world - has been described as the Venice of the North.

The city is built on small islands, stretching between Lake Malaren and the sea.

On the eastern, seaward side is the Baltic and the Stockholm archipelago comprising 24,500 islands, islets and skerries - flat smooth slopes and wild rugged cliffs - reaching 100 km along the serrated eastern coastline.

North and south of the city are dense forests where nature thrives and you can see elk, deer and pick wild lingon berries and mushrooms.

Stockholm is a green, multi-faceted city with numerous parks and a wide variety of cultural activities, cinemas, theatres, museums, restaurants and bars where you can hear live jazz and rock bands.

Well-preserved stone buildings harmonise with a spectacular skyline with black metal-plate roofs.

Visitors to Gamia Stan, Stockholm's Old Town, will be impressed with its picturesque neighbourhood.

Originally built on one small islet at the confluence of Lake Malaren and the Baltic Sea, it was a landmark for merchant ships which transported their goods across it to avoid powerful currents.

The routes can still be traced in the network of cobbled streets.

This is the place where you can discover history in every nook and cranny.

The Royal Palace, testament to baroque architecture, stands on a hill overlooking the inner harbour. It houses museums displaying an armoury, antiquities featuring a fascinating collection from the era of Gustav III, and the Palace Museum showing the crown jewels.

Soderman was historically the working-class district and today it is a Bohemian district, thriving with restaurants, bars, handicraft shops, boutiques and designer outfits.

A food lover's paradise, the city has restaurants that offer an impressive range of top-quality international cuisines.

Stockholm's most famous fish restaurant is Wedholms Fisk, where diners can relax and tuck in to generous helpings.

To the northwest of the city is Edsbacka Krog, an old country tavern that serves a dose of nostalgia along with provincial food.

One of Stockholm's most important edifices is Riddarholmen Church, which was completed in the 13th century and is the tomb of many of the country's kings and queens.

Drottningholm Palace, which rivals Versailles, is home to the royal family, and sections of the building and grounds are open to the public.

A well-preserved baroque theatre and the royal summer residence are among its attractions, which can be admired after a scenic boat ride from the city on classy old ferries.

A contemporary masterpiece is Stadshuset City Hall, designed in an austere Nordic-romantic style by Ragner Ostberg and completed in 1923.

Its interior, including the Blue and Golden halls, attracts visitors from all over the world, and the building continues its glamorous tradition as venue for the annual Nobel Prize awards.

Another ''must see'' is Skansen Outdoor Museum. Set in rustic Djurgarden Park, it is a miniature replica of historical Sweden.

complete with ancient bell towers, farm houses and churches that have been dismantled from their original sites.

Indigenous animals, such as bison and wolves, plus a miniature zoo, aquarium and maypole greens used for the Mid-Summer solstice are also on view.