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Monday, October 8, 2018

LTD Visits One of Scandinavia's Most Visited Museums, The Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) in Stockholm, Sweden

What started with church services and a festive atmosphere ended in a watery grave...

It was the 10th of August 1628, when Vasa, the most powerful warship in the Baltic, foundered in Stockholm harbor before the eyes of a large audience, only minutes after setting sail for the first time.  Learn more about the Vasa from this video and article below!  Watch until the end of the Video to learn about Beata who's face was reconstructed from her skeleton found onboard.

Vasa cast off from the palace between four and five o'clock. As the ship found the current, four of the ten sails were set, and a cannon salute was fired from open cannon hatches on the Vasa.

There was little wind under the bluffs of Södermalm, not even enough to pull the sheets of the sails taught, and Vasa drifted on the current. A small gust filled the sails, and the ship heeled to port, but slowly, agonizingly recovered. As the ship passed the gap in the bluffs at Tegelviken, a much stronger gust pushed the ship so far over on its port side that water poured in through the open cannon hatches from the salute, on the lower gun-deck. Vasa began to sink.

Pandemonium reigned on deck. Many threw themselves into the water, while those below decks struggled to make their way up wildly tilting ladders. Within minutes, the ship was on the sea bed at a depth of 32 metres. The masts stuck up above the surface, and many grabbed hold of them. Others were picked up by the small craft that had followed the Vasa's shaky journey at close quarters. Some swam the 120 meters to the shore of Beckholmen.  All but 30 of the crew and guests survived when Vasa sank. Most of the dead were trapped inside the ship.

The fact that the Captain allowed the gun ports to remain open when Vasa set off was a fateful decision – if they had been closed, water could not have poured in, and the ship might have survived long enough to be rebuilt into a more stable configuration.

On 25 August 1956, Anders Franzén, a fuel engineer in the Swedish navy and amateur archaeologist, discovered a small piece of black oak stuck in a coring device that he dropped into Stockholm's harbor. It does not sound like much, but is by far one of the most important events in the modern history of Vasa.  Even today, many still remember where they were when Vasa finally rose from the deep after 333 years in darkness.  On Monday, 24 April 1961, thousands of people crowded the shores around Kastellholmsviken, much as they had lined the shore almost 333 years earlier, to witness Vasa being raised from the deep.

Today, the Vasa Museum is one of Scandinavia's most visited museums. Here you will find in all its glory, the unique and well preserved warship Vasa from 1628, embellished with hundreds of wooden sculptures and many unique exhibits surrounding the construction, the crew, and discovery of the ship.

Don't forget a good set of binoculars to view the intricacies of the carvings and interior!

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