The town is the center of an old cultural region and celebrated its 700th anniversary in 1987. Dominating the city's skyline from a far distance is the tower of the Cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century. Linköping was a small town until 1937, when the Saab aircraft industry was formed, starting a period of rapid expansion. Linköping University was established in 1969.
The city is situated south of lake Roxen (which is part of the historically important water paths Motala ström and Göta kanal) where the main road from Stockholm to Helsingborg crosses the river Stångån (and Kinda kanal).
This road was part of the Eriksgata route that the newly elected king had to travel according to medieval Swedish Law. In the 20th century road system, it was first called Riksettan (national highway No. 1). It is currently called E4 (European route E4) and has been redirected to pass outside the city on the north side. Further contributing to Linköping's excellent communications is its situation on the main southern railway line connecting Stockholm with the southern parts of the country.
The municipality covers an area of 1430.9 km². Of the total population of 133168, 66817 are male, and 66351 are female. The population density of the community is 93 inhabitants per km².