Mårten Trotzig Gränd, or “Alley of Mårten Trotzig," is an alley in the Old Town of Stockholm that got its name in 1949. The alley is only 90 centimeters wide (just under 3 feet) and 29 meters long (just under 27 yards) with 36 steps to the top, making it the most narrow alley in Stockholm.

Mårten, the defiant,
The alley is named after the German merchant and burgher Mårten Trotzig, “Mårten, the defiant,” (1559-1617), who, born in Wittenberg, immigrated to Stockholm in 1581, and bought properties in the alley area during the period 1597 to 1599, where he also opened a shop. According to sources from the late 16th century, he dealt in iron and copper, and by 1595 had sworn his burgher oath. He later became one of the richest merchants in Stockholm. He was beaten to death during a business trip to Kopparberg in the Bergslagen area in 1617.
In the Middle Ages, during the Antiquity and the Renaissance, this small alley was probably called “Trångsund,” or narrow strait, and in 1544 it was called “den tronge trappe grenden,” or the narrow stair alley. In 1608 it was called “Trappegrenden,” or stair alley. If walls could talk we would also know it was called “Trånga Trappgränden,” or narrow stair alley.
It is uncertain when the name Mårten Trotzig was connected with the alley, but it was probably around 1733, when it appeared on maps as “Trots gränd.”
In the middle 1800s, the alley was enclosed by barriers on both ends but was reopened in 1945, marking the entry between Prästgatan 1 and Västerlånggatan 81 at Järntorget, or Iron Square.
The best known other narrow street is Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche, considered the narrowest street in Paris. It is only 1.80 meters wide (just under 5 feet, 11 inches) and has a length of 29 meters (just about 27 yards). It is located in the fifth arrondissement, on the Rive Gauche of the Seine, and runs from Quai Saint-Michel to Rue de la Huchette.

FInding our way to the Alley
With this background knowledge of some famous narrow streets, we need to start our walkabout to the “Alley of Mårten Trotzig.” A very good and convenient starting point is at the locks (Slussen) at which there are several connections to the underground or busses. Here there is a wonderful view of both Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Ocean. Inhale the sea air and understand that this is a view that very few cities in the world could offer a tourist.
We also have a very good view of the skyline of the South Hills and the Old Town. We pass by the "Grain Harbour Square” (Kornhamnstorg) a public square in the Old Town also known in the past as Kornhaffin (1427), Jernboen (1586), Åkaretorget (1644) and Kornhamns torget (1651).
We continue walking through Triewaldsgränd to the Järntorget from which we have just a short walk to the “Alley of Mårten Trotzig” via Västerlånggatan to number 81, and we are finally there.
We are entering the alley from the south, proceeding toward the north end of the alley. We take some time to study the beautiful architecture of the buildings from the 1500s, and obtain a better understanding for the living conditions of people living so close to each other without modern amenities like electricity, running water or sanitation.
In front of us we see a couple young boys entertaining us by dancing like Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire and trying to use the walls as part of their dance floor.
When we reach the north end of the alley we must choose to go left along Prästgatan, the most beautiful street in Old Town, or right toward the German church with its impressive architecture. Either way will offer some very pleasant views of the treasures of Old Town.

By Leif Rosqvist, editor of New Sweden Cultural Heritage Society and SRIO newsletters in Portland, Oregon.