Today we went to the Vasa Museum. This was my second time there in as many years but this place fascinates me. The Vasa was a ship built in Stockholm which sunk in the harbour on her maiden voyage in 1628.
The Vasa was built in the shipyard in Stockholm and was one of 5 sister ships commissioned by the King at that time. However, the master shipbuilder kept the plans in his head and decided well into the building process that the ship could use about 50 cm more height in the gun decks. Unfortunately the gun decks were above the water line.
Over 700 wooden sculptures were on the original ship. These are re-creations of some of the ones on the stern, the colours are as close as they can determine.
The fabric sail was restored as much as is possible when you consider the canvas fabric was the consistency of wet leaves. But about one-third of the main sail was recovered, sealed between two layers of plastic and put on view. You can see here the panels still with hand stitching visible.
The figure head was the lion, a symbol for the King of Sweden. In fact all the gun doors had a lion carving on them…over 70 lions in all on the Vasa. All the wood was oak, so the gun doors weighed over 100 kg each.
Look at the sculpture on the stern! This is the area that would have been painted. You just cannot imagine the full height of this ship! However check out the people walking to the right and the left. We weren’t allowed to touch or walk on the ship but they had lots of scale and life size models to see.
Here I am on a life size model of one of the lookouts. You can see only a part of the Vasa in the background.
The Vasa was a maritime tragedy however it is the only survivor of that period of time. It is a glimpse into life in the shipyards of Stockholm in 1628.