Karlskrona, on the south coast of Sweden, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 as ‘an exceptionally well-preserved example of a European naval base’. The city was founded in 1680 when it was decided to make the harbour the headquarters of the Swedish navy. Many buildings in the Baroque style remain from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The planned city is located on the island of Trosso, that is linked by the ‘bridge of sighs’ to the islet of Stumholmen, on which was built the naval base, the principal place of work for the people of Karlskrona for three centuries.
The islet was vacated by the navy in the early 1990s and absorbed into the city in 1993. Most of the principal buildings of the naval base remain, including the Kungshall Bastion of the 1680s, alongside a storehouse for grain, salt pork and fish of the 1780s, a store for barrels of the 1720s, the sloop and longboat shed of 1786 which sheltered the navy’s smaller vessels, a hospital, a prison, barracks for sailors, a factory of 1921 where boots and shoes were made on the ground floor and uniforms on the storeys above, hangars built for the naval air service in the 1920s and a torpedo workshop of 1932.
The museum portrays the history of the Swedish navy in recent centuries, and has active boat-building workshops and a research library. Working conditions in the naval base are portrayed in a photographic exhibition. Much of the museum is located along a pier, where vessels, including two torpedo boats and a minesweeper are displayed. The Jarramas, the last full-rigged sailing ship built for the navy, is also amongst the exhibits. Guided tours of the dockyard are available.