Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vasa Museum

backside of Vasa

On Wednesday, per the recommendation of Nick, my family and I headed to check out Vasa Museum. While there, I was very happy that I have previously visited the Marine Museum in Karlskrona a couple of times- it gave me some good background knowledge!

Vasa was a warship built in 1625 and finished in 1628. Vasa was built to help fight in the war against Poland. An interesting fact is that Vasa was built with Polish Oak-- imported from the Danish. Vasa was supposed to be one of the most fierce warships of her time, with two levels of cannons ready to fire in war. The ship originally was built to be very colorful, and a sign to enemies to stay away. On the front of Vasa, she was led by a statue of King Gustav II Adolf, flanked on each side by the 20 greatest Roman Emperors because King Gustav wanted to be seen as equals with the emperors.

Vasa was to set sail in August of 1628, and only made it about 20 minutes into her voyage before she sank in the harbor of Stockholm. The warship had several design failures- not enough ballast, too skinny, and too tall- that caused her to be pushed over incredibly quickly by the wind. Vasa remained underwater for 333 years before she was salvaged. Vasa (and other ships in the Baltic Sea) are able to be salvaged because the water is not salty enough to allow the worm wood to live. A lot of the original coloring of Vasa did fade and disappear over the years. Vasa, as seen now, is over 98% original.

Overall, Vasa museum was a really interesting experience and one I would recommend to anyone who visits Stockholm. We spent several hours at the museum and were very impressed. Free guided tours are offered, as well as a video.

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