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The most popular maritime museum has already been visited by 30 million people!

More than 50 years ago, the Swedish warship “Vasa” was rescued and retrieved from the bottom of the Baltic Sea, where it had rested for more than 300 years after its untimely and somewhat undignified “death” The vessel is now housed in a museum, specially built over the old dry dock. It is the most
Published: May 9, 2011 - 13:02
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 07:29
The most popular maritime museum has already been visited by 30 million people!

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More than 50 years ago, the Swedish warship “Vasa” was rescued and retrieved from the bottom of the Baltic Sea, where it had rested for more than 300 years after its untimely and somewhat undignified “death”

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The vessel is now housed in a museum, specially built over the old dry dock. It is the most popular maritime museum in the world. In its 20 years of operation, it has had 30 million visitors! Kristine Herb, an American, crossed the museum’s threshold as the 30 millionth visitor on 26 April at 1:08 p.m. She was welcomed with flowers and presented with a gift of commemorative books, and also took part in a specially arranged tour of the ship.

“Vasa” was built between 1626 and 1628. The vessel weighs 1200 tons, is 69m long and 11.7m wide, while the height of the ship is 52.5m. She was powered by sails with a total area of 1275m².

The ship set sail on her maiden voyage on 10 August 1628. Already at that time many thought that she had too little ballast, but no one wanted to put herself at risk for the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus, who was eagerly awaiting “Vasa” to join the Baltic Fleet taking part in the Thirty Years’ War.

For this reason, the ship had not sailed more than one nautical mile when the wind increased and set the “Vasa” at such an angle that water began to enter the gun positions. It didn’t take long for the ship to turn from a beautiful vessel into an equally captivating wreck, lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea at a depth of 32m.

In 1956, the patience and determination of one naval engineer, Anders Franzen, led to the discovery and identification of the “Vasa” from among 100,000 other ships. This was possible thanks to the analysis of the wood taken from the wreck.

After extracting a sample of wood, diver Per Edvin went down to the bottom, unfortunately not much could be seen in the darkness. A moment later he reported:

“I can’t see anything, there is absolute darkness here, but I feel something big, it must be the side of a ship! There is also a shooting hole and another one, there are two rows of them, it must be the Vasa!”

Teredo worms are the main cause of damage to wooden ships, but in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea they cannot survive, so “Vasa” was in excellent condition. A plan was devised to bring this amazing ship out of the depths as quickly as possible, and so on 24 April 1961, in front of crowds in Stockholm harbour, “Vasa” was brought out of the depths into the light of day.

If you are passionate about wreck diving or history, a trip to a museum like the ship today should be on your list of places to visit!

Source: http://www.dive-hive.com Photo: rieh/flickr

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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