Photographer's Note

This is more than just a photo of a sign depicting a cat. There is a story behind it, if you care to read the note.

When I saw this sign, coming down the steps of Mariaberget, a hill along the northern side of Södermalm island, I noticed that someone had put a small sticker showing the face of Karl Marx on the cat's head. I thought it was funny enough to require a photo. I also liked the contours and colours of the typical 18th-19th century buildings in the background.

I had no intention of showing this photo on TE. But I started to wonder what the sign signified. There was obviously no connection with the small office of a real estate agent on the corner of the building. Then I noticed that this block of buildings was called Kattryggen (Cat's back).

I made a Google search and found that almost all blocks in this area had references to cats. There is Cat's foot, Cat's tail, Kitten, Cat's ear, Cat's eye, Cat's head etc. etc.

I found out that the blocks of Mariaberget received these names in the 17th century, when people living there decided to keep a large number of cats in the area to fight the rats that would bite people, spread diseases and plunder stocks of food. In those days Mariaberget was one of the worst slums in Stockholm, filthy and stinking and a very unhealthy place to live.

So the sign on this photo is a tribute to the cats that protected the local people. I doubt there is any real connection between Karl Marx and the cats, unless he is to remind us of the cats' proletarian struggle with long working hours and no pay.

Using the map coordinates 59.31958 18.06285 you can join the yellow Google man here. I wasn't allowed today to enter the figures properly.

Here is a larger version.

Photo Information
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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10462 W: 532 N: 20295] (89106)
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