Birger Jarls torg

Stockholm, Sweden

Photo Credit: @halfunpacked

This classical building stands in Birger Jarls torg – a public square in Stockholm, Sweden that lays isolated from the rest of the city on the small but crowded island of Riddarholmen. The ancient city of Stockholm was founded centuries ago by Jarl Birger Magnusson, who is memorialized with a statue situated in the center of the square.

For many years, Birger Jarls torg was called Riddarholmstorget, but the addition of Jarl Birger’s statue in the mid-19th century prompted a name change to honor Stockholm’s famed founder.

Also standing along the borders of the square is Riddarholm Church, which towers over Jarl Birger’s statue. When a papal diplomat came to Sweden to advise deference to Catholic law in the mid-13th century, Birger embraced the faith. Historians debate whether he was truly pious, or if he simply recognized the political advantages of siding with the Catholics. The Riddarholm Church is nonetheless a reminder of the Jarl’s Christian legacy.

Also contributing to Birger’s royal aura are six palaces lining the public square, which today largely function as buildings for government agencies. Birger’s statue, dawned in armor with a shield resting at his feet, continues to oversee the daily government functions of his kingdom.

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