|The UmeGuide Experience|
Affectionately called the City of Birches, Umeå located on the Ume River about 15 km from the sea, was founded in 1622 by King Gustav II Adolf.
During the 18th century Umeå was burnt and plundered on more than one occasion, by invading Russian troops who, returned again during the war of 1808 - 09 occupying the city. Long drawn out battles were fought between Russian and Swedish troops both in the North and South of Umeå with bloody consequences. More set backs were experienced during the summer of 1888, when a devastating fire swept through the city leaving 2,300 of the 3,000 population homeless.
Rebuilding of this beautifully located city demanded new preventive methods and the streets were built straight, with birch trees planted along the streets acting not only as firewalls but giving rise to the name "city of birches"
In 1892 Umeå became one of the very first cities in Sweden to install electric street lighting, followed rapidly by a much needed railway system, inaugurated in 1886 by King Oscar II. Now proudly part of "The Botnia line".
Growing slowly at first, the early 20th century witnessed the opening of a new hospital and the establishing of two strategically located military regiments. Continuing the trend, 1965 saw the inauguration of the now World famous, Umeå University. Umeå at that time had a population of 50,000 which today, has risen rapidly to 115,000, making Umeå one of Sweden's fastest growing communities.