This post is part of a weekly feature called Discovery of the Week. By discovery, I mean a place, a custom or dish that is not widely known. See, I love to read travel magazines, websites and books. Very often, I find beautiful and interesting gems that not a lot of people seem to know about. That is why I thought about introducing this feature because I am sure it will expose a lot of astonishing places. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the many amazing places in the world. I believe my readers also enjoy this activity.
This week discovery: Visby
Where it is located: In the island of Gotland (part of Sweden)
What it is: It is considered the best-preserved medieval city in Scandinavia and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most notable historical remains are the 3.4 km (2.1 mi) long stone wall called Ringmuren (“the Ring Wall”), that encircles the city and the old church ruins. The name “Visby” comes from the Old Norse Vis, meaning sacrificial place, and by, meaning “city”. Visby is a popular vacation destination for Scandinavians during the summer and receives thousands of tourists every year.
This week while looking at ads of cruises doing Baltic routes, I noticed Visby was one of the stops. I have never heard about the city so I Googled it. I discovered a town full of history and well preserved buildings.
Some affectionately call Visby the “city of roses and ruins”.
In the first week of July, Visby is the scene of the Almedalen Week (Almedalsveckan), an important meeting place for everyone involved in Swedish politics. During the week, representatives from the major political parties in Sweden take turns giving speeches in the Almedalen park.
In August, the tourist season is at its peak. In week 32 from Sunday to Sunday, the annual Medieval Week (Medeltidsveckan) is held. During this time regularly dressed tourists are outnumbered by people dressed in Medieval costumes. The festival started in 1984. There are a variety of events: music, jesters, theater, a medieval market, jousting tournaments and much more.
- City wall – Begun in the late 13th century, Visby’s city wall stretches almost 3 and a half kilometers and stands 11 meters high. Today, 36 towers and three main gates remain.
- DBW’s Botanical Gardens – Enter through the “Door of Love” to this picturesque garden of trees and ruins.
- Klinten – Once the workers’ quarter and now a popular spot to take in the view over the lower town, Klinten is an attractive maze of small, rose covered, homes.
- St. Maria Church – Built in the early 13th century
- Many more churches located in the Old Town.
- Gotlands Museum – Museum of local history (Fornsalen), plus a science museum for children (Fenomenalen).
- Gotlands Konstmuseum – Art museum.