The Vasa Museum | Stockholm, Sweden | from Wreck to STATE OF THE ART. Get up close and personal to one of the world best preserved and and only surviving 17th. century warship. From concept to disaster. Vasa was an unparalleled Swedish status symbol. The foundation of the ship was constructed incorrectly – and it sank after its first voyage of roughly one kilometer.
In 1625 King Gustav II Adolf commissioned the construction of the ship Vasa. A ship which would participate in the war against Poland. With 64 guns and 300 soldiers Vasa would become a formidable display of military power – and artistic splendour. Thus a true showpiece. On Sunday 10 August 1628 Vasa departed from the quay below the castle Tre Kronor in the midst of a sea of curious spectators. 145 crewmen were on board. Children, women, the families and relatives of the crew were also on board. The ship was drawn with ropes from the shore until she reached the area which is now known as Slussen. Then the sails were set for departure. After sailing calmly for a while the wind took hold of the sails – and disaster became inevitable. The ship began to heel over and water gushed in through the open gun ports. Vasa sank – after having sailed 1, 300 meters. According to eyewitnesses around 30 persons died in the accident. The remains of at least 16 people have subsequently been found.
The Vasa Museum is part of the Swedish National Maritime Museums. The authority the Swedish National Maritime Museums includes the Naval Museum in Karlskrona, the National Maritime Museum in Stockholm and the Vasa Museum. Located on the island of Djurgården, minutes away from downtown Stockholm. The Vasa Museum opened in 1990 and, according to the official web site, is the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
Out of all my travels around the world, I have never seen such an exhibition. From the moment you walk into The Vasa Museum you feel it presence, the smell of the wood and everyone around goes just and simply… WOW. !!!!. It will take you at least 01 hours to go through the different levels and exhibitions around the museum. Guided tours are also available for those interested. I strongly recommend visiting The Vasa Museum, for being unique on its kind.
The day that Vasa was scheduled to break the water, all of Sweden held its breath. Newspapers, radio and TV from all over the world were there, and Swedish TV made its first live broadcast to Europe. Vasa lay at a depth of 32 meters. In August 1959, it was time for the first lift. There was great uncertainty – would the old wooden ship hold together? Yes! Vasa held. She was lifted in 18 stages to shallower water, where she could be patched and reinforced in preparation for the final lift, to the surface. At 9:03 AM on the 14th of April, 1961, Vasa returned to the surface. A piece of the 17th century was suddenly back among us.
Just seven months after the salvage, the Wasa Shipyard opened as a provisional museum. The ship and all of the smaller finds were conserved, partly as a great experiment. Nothing like it had been attempted before. For 17 years, Vasa was sprayed with polyethylene glycol, PEG – a chemical compound that replaces the water in waterlogged wood to prevent shrinkage and cracking. The current Vasa Museum opened in 1990.
(*) For more information about The Vasa Museum, visit their official website @ http://www.vasamuseet.se/en/. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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