Visby and Gotland

Where time stands still. A visit 2015

Gotland is the largest island in Sweden. It is situated in the middle of the southern part of the Baltic Sea. In medieval times the Baltic was immensely important for its trading routes from the Hanseatic towns of present day Germany to Stockholm and to Finland and Russia. But the trading vessels of the time couldn’t travel that far without replenishing their food and water and Gotland became a trading hub, where goods were sold and bought. The port of Visby harboured a fleet of ships and people of all nations came together in Visby.

Due to its wealth a lot of churches were built all around Gotland but especially in Visby itself. And Visby was fortified by a wall around the city, a wall that exists until today. When ships became sturdier and could travel further Gotland was bypassed by the trading routes and the importance of Visby as a trading hub diminished and with that the wealth disappeared. Many of the churches became ruins. Now only 25,000 persons inhabit the city although the population increases rapidly in the summer.

Visby still has a beautiful cathedral, where Camilla, Eric’s godmother, was to be ordained. Mikee and I went to Visby and Gotland during a week in beginning of June. We travelled around the island and took part in the ordination service and the festivities around it. The ordination itself is described in a Family slide show (Camilla’s Ordination), and here I show a few of the images we captured during a few days in Visby and around Gotland.

Gotland is built of limestone raised up. It is very flat in the inland and has a warm, pleasant climate. Mikee and I travelled to the southeast one day and another day we went up to  the separate island of Fårö – Sheep Island. Fårö is famous for its Rauks, tall limestone blocks, where the surrounding loser stone has been eroded over time. The largest collection of such rauks is to be found along the northwest coast of Fårö.