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Karlstad is situated on the northern shore of Lake Vänern, the largest lake of Sweden, where Sweden's longest river, Klarälven, forms a delta where it runs into the lake. Karlstad is the capital and largest city of Värmland County. The municipality has a population of about 84,000 (2008).
On Karlstad's largest islet, there was a place of counsel called Tingvalla in the medieval age, which had roots from the Viking Age before 1000 AD. It was also used as a market place. Karlstad was granted its city charter in 1584 by the Swedish Duke Charles, who would later be crowned King Charles IX of Sweden. The city derives its name from the King (Karlstad literally means 'Charles' city'). A significant coup d'état of modern Swedish history had its beginning in Karlstad. During the night of 7 March 1809, lieutenant-colonel Georg Adlersparre used the part of the western army that was stationed in Värmland to occupy Karlstad. From there he officially proclaimed a revolution, and during 9 March, he and his soldiers began their successful march toward the capital to end the reign of King Gustav IV Adolf. Karlstad has suffered four major fires. Only the cathedral and a few houses remained after the last fire on 2 July, 1865. Karlstad was thereafter rebuilt according to a grid pattern with wide streets surrounded by trees. In 1905, the agreement to dissolve the union between Norway and Sweden was negotiated and signed in Karlstad.
Karlstad Cathedral [background left] was built in 17231730 on the site of two prior churches. The Baroque church was designed by the architect Christian Haller from Saxony. At first, the church did not have a tower at the western end, but was constructed on the ground plan of a Greek cross with a wooden tower in the centre and a belfry next to the church. In 17351737 the west tower was added which from then on also contained the bells; the wooden central tower collapsed in 1792. Further changes to the design ewre made in 1793/1794. During the large fire of 1865, the cathedral was one of the few buildings that survived; only the roof and the tower including the bells were destroyed. After the fire, the tower was replaced by a new, Classicist revival, construction with its characteristic spire. Renovations and further additions were carried out in 1915/1916, 1956/1057, 19651967 and 1998.
The Tingvallagymnasiet [centre right] on Stora Torget (Main Square) is an upper secondary school.
Construction of the school started after Karlstad was granted its Royal charter in 1584, and it was most likely to have been completed in 1586,
then as a two-story wooden building. As all other Swedish educational facilities it was then dedicated to the teachings of the church.
Following the great fire of 1752 the school was relocated to the current position, at the East side of the town's main square.