Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden and the largest city in the country as well as in Scandinavia. Originally founded in the early 13th century, what is currently the Old Town (Gamla Stan) was built on an island next to the Helgeandsholmen islet on the south-east coast of Sweden as a defence. Its location meant that it quickly became important in terms of trade and maritime defence, and as the Swedish Empire grew in power so did Stockholm. The city now comprises urban areas on fourteen islands around the central Old Town and is an important economic, political and cultural centre. Technologically advanced and efficient, Stockholm has a reputation for being a ‘modern city’ due to the rapid expansion which took place in the late 20th century and saw the construction of many modernist buildings. However, the city contains many important historical buildings and palaces, especially in the Old Town, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Royal Palace Drottningholm and the Skogskyrkogården (Woodland Cemetery). Stockholm was Europe’s first ‘green city’ and remains Sweden’s financial capital. It is also famous for its beautiful parks, open spaces and waterways and sometimes referred to as ‘The Venice of the North’.