The Göteborg region is an old and exciting cultural area. The many ruins in the area prove that people were already living here 8,000 years ago.
Göteborg, which was granted its charter in 1621, was intended to act as Sweden´s gateway to the west. Its position was strategic. The area around the mouth of the River Göta had been an important trading centre since the 12th century. The city was built according to Dutch patterns, with streets and manmade canals in a strictly-designed system and a large square, the current Gustaf Adolfs Torg, next to the Large Canal.
Surrounded by walls, bastions and a moat, Göteborg was one of the most well-defended fortresses in Northern Europe at the end of the century. Three of the fortresses that were built outside the city still stand – Skansen Kronan, Skansen Lejonet and the New Älvsborg Fortress at the mouth of the river.
The Kronhus, the artillery´s magazine for ammunition and grain, and the Torstensson Palace, now the County Govenor´s Residence, are two of the few buildings inside the moat which have been preserved from the first decades. The Large Canal and the moat, together with the street network and the rectangular districts inside the moat, still stand.
The buildings which have been preserved from the 18th century are the East India Building, orginally a warehouse, auction room and office for the East India Company, and Kronhusbodarna, where the artillery had its workshops. The East India Company, which made Göteborg a flourishing city, was founded in 1731. The following year, the first East-Indiaman set sail for China and returned with a valuable cargo of tea, silk and china.
The appearance of the city changed dramatically during the 19th century. The fortresses were demolished and made way for the Kungsparken park and the Horticultural Society. The city expanded, some of the canals were filled in, the harbours and quays were extended. Famous buildings which have been preserved from this century are the Stock Exchange, the Central Railway Station, the Stora Theatre, the Feskekörka fish hall and the Saluhallen indoor market.
Entertainment and culture for all ages
Göteborg is one of Europe´s leading event cities. The large modern arenas, Ullevi and the Scandinavium, and the Liseberg amusement park are all located along the same street, in the heart of a living city environment. Just a couple of blocks away lies Avenyen, the main street, a popular area for pedestrians with its restaurants, cafés, shops, hotels, culture and entertainment. The programmes at the Göteborg Opera, theatres and museums also boost Göteborg´s position as the perfect city för visitors and events. Not to mention the successful Göteborg Symphony Orchestra.
Ullevi is Scandinavia´s largest outdoor arena for sport and events, with a capacity of around 43,000 seated spectators. The Scandinavium is a unique indoor arena, with 12,000 seats for everything from ice hockey and swimming competitions to musicals, rock concerts and congresses.
The beautiful Liseberg amusement park is the largest tourist attraction in Scandinavia. It features exciting rides, open-air stages, an amusement arcade, restaurants, a theatre and a concert hall. The park is famed for its wonderful flowers.
The theatres put on everything from repertory and experimental theatre to dance and revues. The Göteborg Opera is internationally renowned for its superb acoustics and unique stage technology.
When it comes to music, the alternatives are rich and varied, thereby guaranteeing something to suit every taste. The Göteborg Symphony Orchestra is Sweden´s national orchestra, as well as being one of the world´s leading symphony orchestras. The Göteborg Concert Hall is famous for its acoustics.
Göteborg has many museums which attract large numbers of visitors. The Rösska Museum, Sweden´s only design and arts and crafts museum and the Maritime Museum with its Aquarium, both of which are especially popular among families with children.
The Art Museum in Göteborg has fine collections of Nordic art and works by some of the world´s best-known artists.
The annual events include the Göteborg Party, the Göteborg Film Festival, Culture Night, the Göteborg Dance and Theatre Festival, the Göteborg Jazz Festival and Books & Library.