It stretches east from the Stockholm Cathedral and the Royal Palace down to the street Skeppsbron which passes along the eastern waterfront of the old town. In the western end, the alley Källargränd leads south to the square Stortorget, while Storkyrkobrinken extends Slottsbacken west beyond the cathedral and Högvaktsterrassen, down to the square Riddarhustorget. On the southern side of Slottsbacken, three alleys connect to the interior throng of the old town: On either side of the Tessin Palace are Finska Kyrkogränd and Bollhusgränd, while Österlånggatan begins in the low-lying eastern part of the slope.
The present palace, designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and built in 1697-1760, was preceded by the Medieval castle Tre kronor ("Three Crowns") which was continuously rebuilt during it existence and was finally destroyed by fire in 1697. South of this older building was in medieval times a slope consisting of sand and gravel, deliberately left unbuilt for defensive purposes. Probably wider than the present slope, it stretched further south to the royal stables, the kitchen gardens, and the butchers stalls on the opposite side. In 1520, the burghers of the city were requested to relocate their stables and piggeries from the "Stable Slope" (Stallbacken) to the hills surrounding the city. New defensive walls were built around the royal palace during the 16th century on the expense of the open area surrounding it, defensive constructions outdated in the early 17th century.
By the end of the 17th century, the slope had been transformed into an extremely narrow street squeezed between the wide moat of the palace and the variegated structures lined-up on the southern side. Parts of the five metres deep moat was used as a theatre and furnished with a superstructure.
As the new palace was being built, the slope was redesigned to become the palace's grand-style Baroque antechamber, and the structures and gardens on the southern side were consequently replaced by more prestigious buildings in stone. While the exterior of the Palace was more or less completed in the 1750s, the work on the slope, the palace's main approach, was still proceeding by the end of that century.
Though the four façades of the Royal Palace are all built in brick and bound by a unitary programme, they are all given distinctive designs in accordance to their various functions. The southern façade, representing the Nation and concealing the Royal Chapel and the Rikssal ("National Hall", the royal throne room), is facing the palace's main approach and is consequently the most pompous of the four. It is dominated by a Roman triumphal arch composition dressed in lime stone and furnished with six war trophies, four abduction scenes by Bouchardon, and 16 reliefs displaying mythological scenes. The balustrade over the central part was originally intended to be furnished with a series of sculptures. While the tall central portion, 115 metres wide, is flanked by a 48 metres long eastern wing, the corresponding western wing is limited to a mere 11 metres, as the original plans of the architect to demolish the Medieval cathedral were ignored. The statues in the eight niches, dating from 1899-1902, depict prominent Swedes from the late 17th century: Dahlbergh, M. Stenbock, Stiernhielm, Polhem, Tessin, Adelcrantz, Linnaeus and von Dalin.
The marble statue of Olaus Petri (1493-1552), dating from 1897 and cut by Theodore Lundberg, celebrates the reformer who, inspired by studies in Germany paid by King Gustav Vasa, translated the Bibel to Swedish and had a crucial roll in the development of the Swedish language. He was the head of the church 1543-1552 and is buried in it.
In the cobbled pavement between the cathedral and the palace are two markings showing the location of the south-west bastion of the medieval palace and the eastern sanctuary of the medieval church destroyed by King Gustav Vasa to give the canons of the palace more aiming space.
The building is today the residence of the county governor of Stockholm.
Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809, and the national parish of the Finnish Church was established in Stockholm in 1533, at the time accommodated in the old abbey of the Blackfriars. A building constructed on the present site 1648-1653, originally intended for ball games, and thus called Lilla bollhuset ("Small Ball House"), but mostly used as a theatre, was taken over by the Finnish parish in 1725 from when the irregularly shaped building stems. In the interior, the organ loft still resembles the gallery of the old Boll House. As the church never had an accompanying graveyard, the Church of Catherine on Södermalm was of great importance to the Finnish parish until the 19th century.