2. The sliding bridge
Monday, August 21, 2017
I have blogged about Göta Kanal and its locks before - for example two years ago, from Trollhättan.
“Göta Canal was constructed in the early 19th century to connect lakes and rivers from Göteborg (Gothenburg) on the west coast all the way to Söderköping on the east coast. The construction of the Göta Canal, finished in 1832, was by far the greatest civil engineering project ever undertaken in Sweden up to that time; requiring 22 years of effort by more than 58,000 workers.”
East of Motala, at Borenshult, Lake Vättern is connected to Lake Boren, with a steep “staircase” of five interconnected locks with a total height difference of more than 15 meters; built between 1823 to 1825.
We went to see these locks in the morning of the third day of our trip (29 July; after having stayed the night at a hotel in Motala).
Motala seemed a little reluctant to let us go…
Drawbridge over the canal opening up for boats to pass.
This bridge still manually manouvered from a cabin by the bridge.
On our way to the locks, we also made a quick stop at Charlottenborg, a manor house from the mid 17th century situated by Motala River; now housing Motala Museum. We were there too early in the morning for the museum to be open yet, so just went for a whort walk around the house and looked at the views.
By the time we arrived at the locks, it had stopped raining. And as there were boats on their way up the locks, we stayed around a while to follow the process.
Lock filled with water. You can see the masts of boats waiting in the one below to go up.
Water level being lowered in the upper lock.
Looking in the direction the boats will be going.
Water level now even with the next lock, gates opening.
A lot of manouvering required to get the boats in place.
Then the water level can be raised again, to lift the boats to the next level.
There is a type of drawbridge here that we had never seen before. It neither goes up, nor swings sideways, but just slides back on top of the road.
Waiting on the other side of the bridge, for their turn to go down the locks.
Here we go – the bridge has magically opened.
And when the boats going up have passed through,
then come those who have been waiting to go down.
Bridge closing again, after the last boat going through.
(Meanwhile, cars queueing on both sides of the canal.)
I tried to film the sliding bridge as well – but had trouble getting the video to show on the computer. Now I have found it, and will try to put it into a separate blog post. Hope you’ll be able to see it as well.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Vadstena Abbey Church, also called The Blue Church, from 1430.
It’s hard to give an idea how huge this church is.
I also don’t know what everything inside is.
All one can do is really to wander around in amazement!
Monument of Duke Magnus
”Magnus, Duke of Östergötland (1542-1595), was the son of King Gustav Vasa and Queen Margareta Leijonhufvud. At times he lived at Vadstena Castle. The monument has been attributed to the castle constructor Hans Fleming.”
The sculpture on the right is said to be of John the Baptist,
made in Lübeck around 1430.
“St Anne, Virgin and Child”
(St Anne = the mother of Mary)
Made in Lübeck around 1425
Right: The red casket contains “Relics of Saint Birgitta and other unknown saints”.
My guess is that this candle holder is one of the more modern objects in the church. ‘Tealights’ are used in it, which they probably didn’t have back in medeival times!
Friday, August 18, 2017
St Birgitta receiving her revelations from an angel.
15th century painting from Northern Germany.
“Birgitta of Sweden (Saint Bridget), Birgitta Birgersdotter, was born in 1303 in Finsta, Uppland. She grew up in a high-born family. Her father was a lawgiver and the family had close links to the church and the royal family. At the age of 13 she married the knight, lawgiver and councillor Ulf Gudmarsson. Their manor was Ulvåsa in Östergötland. The couple had eight children.
After her husband’s death, when Birgitta was in her 40s, she received divine revelations, which grew to more than 600 over time. Birgitta’s task was to repair a decayed church in the name of God. She did not hesitate to reprove priests, the pope or sovereigns. War and plague ravaged Europe – but this did not prevent Birgitta from setting off to Rome in order to gain the pope’s approval of the convent order she was assigned to establish in one of her revelations.
Birgitta died in Rome in 1373. She never got to see her convent. Birgitta’s remnants were transported in procession across Europe to Vadstena in 1374. The convent in Vadstena was inaugurated in 1384.”
“The convent museum is situated in one of the most interesting buildings in Sweden. It was built as a royal palace in the 13th century. This was the first profane brick building in Sweden. In the 14th century, the palace was transformed into a convent according to the instructions given to St Birgitta of Sweden in her revelations. During the last years of the 16th century, the convent was closed and the buildings were used as a veteran’s home, a prison and a mental hospital. The exciting past of the house was discovered during surveys in connection with renovations in the 1950s and 60s.”
The Chapter Room
This room on the ground floor, with fantastic acoustics and (remnants of) 14th century murals, is believed to have been the Chapter Hall of the convent.
Upstairs, at the entrance to the nuns’ sleeping quarters, we were welcomed by this Bridgettine nun (a very lifelike wax doll).
“I am Katarina, Birgitta’s daughter, and the first abbess of the convent. I followed my mother on many long travels, and took her earthly remnants back from Rome to Vadstena. I fought to have her sanctified, and made her vision of this convent come true.”
“A bed, a chest and a shared loop hole – a nun’s private space.”
“One distinctive feature of the pre-Reformation houses of the Order was that they were double monasteries, with both men and women forming a joint community, though with separate cloisters. They were to live in poor convents and to give all surplus income to the poor. However, they were allowed to have as many books as they pleased.” (Quote from Wikipedia)
“Pilgrimages and crusades are two sides of the same coin. Vadstena was an important pilgrimage site and Birgitta was a zealous advocate of crusades.”
(Just quoting the brochure! – which also adds “Learn more about these two medeival phenomena”… From for example the old maps on display in that room.)
The Prayer Chamber
”Birgitta’s presence is palpable here. See the chest in which Birgitta of Sweden’s remnants were transported from Rome to Vadstena in 1374.”
Most of the text in this post is copied or translated from museum brochures, or signs near the objects in the museum.
Please note: Only the first two images are postcards; the rest are all my own photos.