Now that the trip is done, I must say that Piteå is indeed the hidden or not-yet-discovered jewel of Sweden. Everyone should have this experience that we did, go to the destination itself and have a local share the stories when moving through the different points of interests.
Let me take you back in time.
Thousands of years ago, when everything was still covered in ice lays the foundation of Piteå today. See, if you look at Piteå from a map you can see a pattern in the shapes of the islands and landscapes of Piteå. This is due to the fact that the ice retreated from the Gulf of Bothnia and left its mark in the ground.
Throughout history, Piteå has served as a fishing and hunting grounds. Unlucky for us we did not get to visit its one common landmarks of history, which are the labyrinths that can be found in remote islands. The legend goes that these stone trailed labyrinths served as some sort of fisherman’s rituals to drive the bad spirits away and give good luck instead. They believed that once you enter the labyrinth, you are chased by this bad spirit, but if you make it to the center and out the spirit will loose track of you and will be lost forever. Pretty spooky, right?
Additionally to all this, there are lighthouses every here and there to remind us of the origin of the place. As a hub for fishing and hunting it makes perfect sense that they are still there, but of course they are out of commission since the ships can navigate just fine these days due to technological advantages. Our tour guide also explained that wars have been fought in 19th century in Piteå’s soil among the Swedes and Russians.
It makes one wonder what the future is going to be like for Piteå. Will there be recognition to these origins and locations as time progresses? I encourage you to go and experience all this yourself, no matter if you are interested in older architecture or just local stories, it is all there in Piteå. I did not have any prior experience of any of this before the trip and I would love to give it a second go!
Now go out there! Interact and experience Piteå.