Visby is a true magnet for history lovers and medieval enthusiasts. Located on the biggest of Swedish islands, Gotland, it attracts some 100,000 visitors each year.
For years, the UNESCO has been fighting to preserve sites of the most precious cultural and historical value for us. Each year, the list grows longer. Visby, a Swedish medieval town, has long been on this list and is one of the most popular places to visit in Sweden. The charming town presents an interesting blend of a thousand-year old town centre surrounded by considerably newer and modern buildings. It is fascinating, that the blend does not eliminate Visby’s appeal, in fact, it adds to its charm.
The history of Visby goes back very long. It used to be a merchant city as early as in 900 AD. Even though it is difficult to establish with absolute certainty, many historians believe it had been inhabited long before, in the Stone Age. One of its major attractions which remain well preserved until today is the 12th century cathedral, dedicated to Saint Mary. A century after its construction, it was reshaped and the 13th century version of St. Mary’s Cathedral is the one many come to admire here today.
Visby’s famous ring wall dates back to the 12th century as well. It is still largely intact today, and creates a protective, 3,400-metre ring around the old core of the town. Inside these magnificent walls, there are several stunning medieval trading houses as well as some 18th century wooden buildings. Tourists who are fascinated by local history and keen to learn more are welcome to visit local Historical Museum which offers interesting insight into the past of the entire island.
Visby is also renowned as home to the highest number of restaurants per capita in the entire country. Shopping here is spectacular and local night life is praised by all who come here. The Botanical Garden, founded in 1856, features an appealing selection of exotic trees and plants and is well worth a visit.
This wonderful medieval town very much deserves its reputation. It is truly one of the most charming and exciting places to visit in Sweden.