Vadstena is a locality
Urban areas in Sweden
Urban area is a common English translation of the Swedish term tätort. The official term in English, used by Statistics Sweden, is, however, locality. There are 1,940 localities in Sweden . They could be compared with census-designated places in the United States.A tätort in Sweden has a minimum of...

 and the seat of Vadstena Municipality
Vadstena Municipality
Vadstena Municipality is a municipality in Östergötland County in southeast Sweden. Its seat is located in the city of Vadstena....

, Östergötland County
Östergötland County
Östergötland County is a county or län in southeastern Sweden. It borders the counties of Kalmar to the southeast, Jönköping to the southwest, Västra Götaland to the west, Örebro to the northwest, Södermanland to the northeast, and the Baltic Sea to the east.Östergötland County has a population of...

, Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, with 5,612 inhabitants in 2005. From 1974 to 1979 Vadstena was administered as part of Motala Municipality
Motala Municipality
Motala Municipality is a municipality in Östergötland County in southeast Sweden. Its seat is located in the city of Motala....


Despite its small population, Vadstena is, for historical reasons, still referred to as a city (it received its city privileges in 1400). Statistics Sweden, however, only counts localities with more than 10,000 inhabitants as cities.


Above all, the city of Vadstena is noted for two important artefacts of Swedish history. It was in Vadstena, in 1350, that Saint Bridget of Sweden founded the first monastery
Vadstena Abbey
Vadstena Abbey was the motherhouse of the Bridgettine Order, situated on Lake Vättern, in the Diocese of Linköping, Sweden. The abbey started as one of the farms donated by the king, but the town of Vadstena grew up around it...

 of her Bridgettine Order
The Bridgettine or Birgittine Order is a monastic religious order of Augustinian nuns, Religious Sisters and monks founded by Saint Birgitta of Sweden in approximately 1350, and approved by Pope Urban V in 1370...

, and Vadstena Castle
Vadstena Castle
Vadstena Castle is a former Royal Castle in Vadstena, the province of Östergötland, Sweden.-History:Vadstena Castle was originally built by King Gustav Vasa in 1545 as a fortress to protect Stockholm from enemies from the south...

 is one of Sweden’s best-preserved castles from the era of Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. Today the surviving buildings of the monastery are occupied by a hotel, the Vadstena Klosterhotel, and the castle houses the provincial archives and a museum of 16th and 17th century furniture, portraits and paintings.

Since the 16th century, Vadstena has been the location of a hospital. Earlier in history, it mainly housed mental patients. Today, some of the oldest buildings present the Vadstena Hospital Museum.

Vadstena also preserves elements of more recent history in the museum of the Vadstena-Fågelsta
Fågelsta is a locality situated in Motala Municipality, Östergötland County, Sweden with 316 inhabitants in 2005....

 narrow gauge railway (Wadstena Fogelsta Järnväg). This 891 mm (or three Swedish feet)-gauge railway was once part of a large network of narrow-gauge railways in Östergötland
Östergötland, English exonym: East Gothland, is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden in the south of Sweden. It borders Småland, Västergötland, Närke, Södermanland, and the Baltic Sea. In older English literature, one might also encounter the Latinized version, Ostrogothia...

constructed in the latter part of the 19th century.

The buildings in the city centre date mainly from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The old town is well-preserved and the streets have not changed much over the centuries. The Town Hall is Sweden's oldest, dating back to the early 5th century. Notable is the main street (Storgatan) where all the shops are gathered, like they would have been during the Middle Age.
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