Karlstad is a city, the seat of Karlstad Municipality, the capital of Varmland County, and the largest city in the province Varmland in Sweden. The city had 61,685 inhabitants in 2010 out of a municipal total that at the end of 2012 was 86,929 inhabitants. Karlstad has a university and a cathedral.
Karlstad is built on the river delta where Swedens longest river, Klaralven, runs into Swedens largest lake, Vanern. It has the second largest lake port in the country after Vasteras.
Karlstad is often associated with sunshine and the symbol for Karlstad is a smiling sun. Karlstad is reputed to be one of the sunniest towns in Sweden and a local waitress, known as "Sola i Karlstad" (the Sun in Karlstad) for her sunny disposition, is also commemorated with a statue.
On Karlstads largest islet, there was a place of counsel called Tingvalla in the medieval age, which had roots from the Viking Age before 1000 AD. It was also used as a market place.
Karlstad was granted its city charter on March 5, 1584 by the Swedish Duke Charles, who would later be crowned King Charles IX of Sweden. The city derives its name from the King – Karlstad literally means Charles city. The Duke also granted Karlstad the right as a governmental seat in the region, and gave it a substantial amount of land.
The Duke built his own house in the city, which is referred to as Kungsgarden (The Kings Manor). Karlstads Cathedral was built on the location Kungsgarden in 1724–1730 by Christian Haller.
Then most significant coup detat in modern Swedish history had its beginning in Karlstad. During the night of 7 March 1809, lieutenant-colonel Georg Adlersparre used the part of the western army that was stationed in Varmland to occupy Karlstad. From there officially proclaimed a revolution, and during 9 March, he and his soldiers began their successful march toward the capital to end the reign of king Gustav IV Adolf.
Karlstad has suffered four major fires. Only the cathedral and a few houses remained after the last fire on July 2, 1865. Karlstad was thereafter rebuilt according to a grid pattern with wide streets surrounded by trees.
In 1905, the agreement to dissolve the union between Norway and Sweden was negotiated and signed in Karlstad.
Varmlands Folkblad and NWT are the two local newspapers.