Kyrkbacken – Västerås’ old town

Kyrkbacksgatan, 722 15 Västerås Show on map

Kyrkbacken is one of the oldest parts of central Västerås and consists of older wooden houses in winding lanes close to Rudbeckianska upper secondary school and Västerås cathedral.

Kyrkbacken, or ”Backarne” as this hilly area was called up to the 17th century, was the city’s most northern area. Church employees, teachers and priests lived in the Bourgeois homes in the southern part of the area while the slums in the northern part housed the vagabonds, paupers and outcasts, often for several generations.

The town executioner was one of these outcasts and had even lower status than the paupers. He was forced to drink from his own well, which is now a spring and a small green area that is open to visitors.

The plague was prevalent in the area in 1623 and many people died. At the end of the 1940s there were many people who advocated the demolition of Kyrkbacken to make way for new cultural buildings. Luckily there were others that opposed this plan so the picturesque lanes and charming houses are still there.These days, Kyrkbacken is a popular area among artists and guided tours are available where you can imagine what life would have once been like here.

Guided tours of Kyrkbacken can be booked at Västerås Tourist Center.