The ferry ride across the Baltic dropped us off in Visby. Everywhere I turned there was beauty. This medieval town charmed with its cobblestone streets, quaint structures and immense ruins. In 1995, Visby was designated a World Heritage site.
“Visby is an outstanding example of a north European medieval walled trading town which preserves with remarkable completeness a townscape and assemblage of high-quality ancient buildings …” (UNESCO)
Striking features in Visby:
- A town plan with an ancient street network.
- Medieval warehouses, serving as sales premises and storerooms for the merchants of the town.
- The town wall, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, is 3.4 kms long. 27 ground towers and 9 hanging towers have been preserved.
- The 12 church ruins … remains of churches erected in the 13th and 14th centuries.
- Well-preserved wooden buildings … (Gotland Municipality)
One of many church ruins inside the medieval walls.
Drotten Church was built in the 13th Century and dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Drotten Church is an old Norse word for “ruler” and “God.” (Swedish National Heritage Board)
The summer tourist season was over. They say Visby is beautiful in the summer. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than the vibrant fall colors – all shades of reds, yellows and greens.
Imagine stepping into this rose garden from the back door of your home.
More sheep statues along the cobblestone streets.
Taking center stage on Stora Torget (Main Square) was S:ta Karin Kyrka (St. Catherine’s Church).
As far back as 5,500 years ago, Stora Torget (The Main Square) was populated by Stone Age fishermen and seal hunters. Many artisans had their workshops here: comb-makers, shoemakers and tanners.
The Franciscan brethren were granted land on the south side of the square in the 1230s. They erected the church of St. Catherine with adjoining monastery buildings on this ground. (Gotland Municipality)
Looking up at the ceiling. Man-made brick by brick.
Next to Hotell St. Clemens where we stayed (and which we highly recommend), was its namesake, S:t Clemens Kyrkoruin.
I could not resist this narrow stairway.
At the top, I had this lovely view of the nearby homes.
Across the road from S:t Clemens were the Botanical Gardens (which I’ve written about in my previous post). At one end of the gardens was a large stone wall.
More glorious fall foliage covered large portions of the medieval wall.
I could almost envision viking warriors positioned inside the wall looking out to the sea for possible invaders.
The Powder Tower was a defensive tower and is one of the oldest surviving secular buildings in Scandinavia, dating probably from the mid-12th century.
The tower acquired its name in the 18th century when the Crown had a powder magazine here.There are ancient inscriptions on doors and walls. There was no heating and the tower was never lived in, though it did serve for a time as a prison. (Swedish National Heritage Board)
The Gotland flag. What is not to like about this place?!