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Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic region, with 917,297 people living in the municipality, approximately 1.6 million in the urban area, and 2.2 million in the metropolitan area.The inner city is made up of 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren, which flows into the brackish Baltic Sea, and passes the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands and islets. As Sigtuna, Sweden's first capital, was sacked by pirates in 1187, the Swedes built up fortresses along the inlet of Mälaren, and Birger Jarl (Jarl is a title corresponding to British Earl) had a fortress built on an island later known as Gamla Stan.
As the land raised, the Stockholm straits became the only waterway between Mälaren and the Baltic Sea during the 15th century, replacing Uppsala as the effective capital.Since King Gustavus Vasa liberated Stockholm in 1523, Stockholm has remained Sweden's most important centre of commerce, though Gothenburg later became the largest international port.During the 17th century, Stockholm was the base of the Swedish Empire, with a land area twice the country's current size, nearly encircling the Baltic Sea.The city contains buildings from all ages since the 13th century, but particularly between 19, hundreds of old buildings in Norrmalm were demolished in a large-scale modernization process.Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden.The city hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall.
One of the city's most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia.The city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, and hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Australia.Stockholm is the seat of the Government of Sweden and most government agencies, including the highest courts in the Judiciary, and the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister.The Government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag is seated in the Parliament House, and the Prime Minister's residence is adjacent at the Sager House.The Stockholm Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the Swedish monarch, while the Drottningholm Palace, a World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Stockholm, serves as the Royal Family's private residence.Stockholm has many spectacular tourist attractions, ranging from the interesting architecture of the City Hall to the stunning natural beauty of the archipelago.