|Part of the country (landsdel) :||Götaland|
|Province (län) :||Gotland County|
(December 31, 2008)
|Population density:||19 inhabitants per km²|
|Largest lake:||Bäste träsk|
Gotland is a Swedish island and historical province . The second largest island in the Baltic Sea after Zealand ( Denmark ) and before Funen (Denmark) and Saaremaa ( Estonia ) is located northeast of Öland . It takes its name from the Germanic tribe of the Goths , who, according to the Gutasaga, at least partially left the island at the turn of the times in order to establish great empires in the Mediterranean region on the continent, later as the East and West Goths .
Gotland consists in large part of a limestone plateau, the south is a larger area on a sandstone formation. The capital of the island is the former Hanseatic city of Visby . In keeping with its resources, Gotland has been shaped by the stone and cement industry, marl and clay mining and fishing. The lime kiln ( Bärlast and Kyllaj lime kilns ) contributed to the deforestation of the island. In 1730 the number of ovens was halved to 18. Today limestone is only mined in a few places. Cement production is concentrated in Slite , where Sweden's largest factory is located. In Bläse there is a Kalkwerkmuseum (Swedish Bläse kalkbruksmuseum ).
The highest point is under 82 m high. There are a total of around 50 lakes on Gotland that are constantly filled with water, four of which have an area of more than one square kilometer: Bäste träsk , Tingstädeträsk , Fardumeträsk and Bogeviken .
Flora and fauna
Gotland is known for its very biodiverse natural landscape. The bird life and the variety of orchids are particularly noteworthy. Numerous nature reserves have been established across the island, including the Uppstaigreservat and one on Torsburg and two others on the islands of Lilla Karlsö and Stora Karlsö (small and large Karlsinsel). The Guteschaf (Swedish Gutefår ), a small, robust domestic sheep breed, is the oldest breed in Sweden. Up until modern times, the winter seal hunt on Gotland was part of the basic diet of the island's population.
Gotland is an island with a few minor islands (including Fårö , Lilla and Stora Karlsö and Östergarnsholm ), which grew up out of the Ancylus Sea in several stages after the Ice Age due to the land elevation and different sea levels of the Baltic Sea . The island was first settled by hunters and gatherers . The skeletal finds from Stenkyrka and Lummelunda are around 8,000 years old. This not only makes them the oldest in Gotland, but also some of the oldest in Sweden. Around 2000 BC The hunters were ousted by arable farmers . A little later, the bronze came to the island. The Iron Age began v as in the rest of the north to 500th The settlements apparently also served as trading centers. Archaeologists have found flint from southern Sweden on several of them; Slate arrowheads came from central Sweden or Norrland and amber from the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.
Many remains from prehistoric times have been preserved as ground monuments . Ship settings and picture stones are elements that apparently originated on Gotland. Wheel graves (near Linde and Stenkyrka ), almost 400 rune stones , menhirs and stone boxes are also very numerous. Stone mound tombs , called Rojr (dt. Röser ) in Swedish , and rock carvings complete the relics of prehistoric times. The Bulverket , a pile building in Tingstädeträsk , is a unique facility from this time. Also strange are the Trullhalsar ( troll necks ), Vendelzeit grave circles, which can be found similarly in today's Poland . Not least influenced six large burial grounds (eg. As cemetery of Lilla Bjärs , cemetery of Lilla your ) and prehistoric castles , including Stora Havor , Gammelslott , grogarnsberget , Herregårdsklint , Styrmansberg and Torsburgen , the younger prehistory of the island as well as the Troy Towns , the norse labyrinths .
The open-air museum of Bunge and Gotlands Fornsal in Visby show a lot of it. The more than 800 found on the island Viking Age hoards , including the three recovered in 2000 spillings hoard (only 65 kg of silver with a material value of € 600,000) are, however, in Stockholm to see. This also applies to the pre-Viking age hoard from Havor . As early as the middle of the 7th century, the Baltic States were the target of Swedish activities. Sagas, which were not recorded until the 13th century, describe the deeds of kings Ivar Vidfamne (Ívarr inn víðfaðmi - 655–695 AD) and Harald Hildenand . Ivar Vidfamne is said to have conquered the Baltic States and the area around Gardarike in Karelia . However, there can be no question of permanent land grabbing, because the empire fell apart with his death. Decorative needles, fibulae and swords from the 10th century prove that Curonian weapons and jewelry reached Gotland. Utensils such as those found in the vicinity of Klaipėda and Kretinga , on the Gotland coast, were found. The grave in Hugleifs documents the presence of cures on the island. The finds indicate trade relations with the Baltic Sea, but only in the 10th and 11th centuries.
A special feature is that Gothic (gutiska razda) , which was spoken on the island in the early Middle Ages, was an independent language and that Gotland had its own national law (Landskapslag) , which was only replaced in the early modern period. The Gutalag (Gotland Law) did not recognize a lagman until 1595. Since the rune stones and grave fields on Gotland are older than those on Mälaren, the island must have played an important role in history much earlier than the center of the Svear.
The remains of the oldest settlement structure on Gotland date from the time around the birth of Christ. They are large stone foundations that can be up to 60 m long and wall thicknesses of up to 1.5 m. There are nearly 1800 foundations in groups on the island. The large houses offered space for living quarters and stables. A steep roof rested on the foundations, supported by double rows of strong posts. The roof was probably covered with thatch (Gotland. "Ag"), which has been used as cover material for rural farm buildings up to our times. Barley, wheat and rye were primarily grown. The seeds were protected from cattle and game by stone walls. Some remains of the old field system boundaries, so-called "Fornäckrar", still exist. Cattle were also kept on the unfenced pastures, the common land . Cattle, goats, sheep, domestic pigs and chickens are documented in the prehistoric settlement of Vallhagar . Rich finds indicate that some of the sites were Iron Age trading centers.
Even in pagan times Gotland was divided into 20 thing districts. This division continued until 1745, but was then adapted to the parishes.
In the middle of the 10th century, the island still belonged to the kingdom of the pagan central Swedish Svear , under whose protection it had placed itself. According to legend, the Norwegian king Olav the Saint is said to have Christianized the island in 1029 AD. The grave slab from St. John's Church in Visby documents the transition. Gotland was an important place for trade in the Baltic Sea even before and during the time of the Vikings and in the early and late Middle Ages . Later, the Hanseatic League played a decisive role in this. Long before Lübeck and other cities on the Baltic Sea were founded, the island ports Paviken and Fröjel , and later Visby, were the fulcrum of goods traffic between Avaldsnes on Karmøy and Kaupang in Norway, Birka and Sigtuna in Sweden, Dorestad in the Netherlands, Haithabu , Ribe and Tissø in what was then Denmark, Quentovic in France, Jomsburg (Vineta), Ralswiek , Reric , Truso and Wiskiauten on the southern Baltic coast, Novgorod in Russia and Seeburg in the Baltic States. Peasant traders brought coveted goods across the sea. In their entourage, probably as guests or as partners, more and more merchants came to the island in the 12th century from the newly founded towns on the Baltic Sea and from the Rhineland and Westphalia . They quickly took over most of the trading volume with their own ships. The German traders, for the most part based in Visby , where they had a great influence on urban development with the construction of magnificent courtyards, houses and the Church of St. Mary , soon became serious competition for the rural population; Tensions were therefore inevitable. This conflict between merchants and the rural population resulted in a military conflict in 1288.
The city of Visby, which was subordinate to the Swedish King Magnus Ladulås and obliged to serve as a military service, had to assert itself against the farmers in several battles and suffered in spite of its fortifications - the city wall , which is still largely preserved today, was almost 3.6 km long and had next to it three gates and 44 defense towers - heavy destruction. In the second half of July 1361, the Danish King Waldemar Atterdag landed on the island with a force of 3,000 men. A hastily assembled army of the rural population - the citizens barricaded themselves meanwhile - tried to stop him and his knights, but were worn out after two days. On July 27th , the Danes met the last contingent within sight of the city walls. A bloody slaughter ensued. Around 2000 people were killed because the city dwellers did not dare to open the gates to them. After the battle , Visby surrendered and "voluntarily" opened its gates to Waldemar's troops, but received confirmation of his old rights and privileges two days later.
Gotland has been Danish since then . In Denmark's war against Sweden in 1394 the Vitalienbrüder occupied the island as a base of operations, where they gradually became independent and feared pirates as privateers under the slogan “God's friends, enemies of the world!”. On Vivesholm there are still the remains of a fortification which Albrecht von Mecklenburg had built as the leader of the Vitalienbrüder after his deposition as the Swedish king. Finally, in 1398 , the Teutonic Order under Konrad von Jungingen drove out the Brothers of Vitality from Gotland, which had been pledged to the Knightly Order of Sweden. In 1408 the island was awarded to Margaret of Denmark . Erich von Pommern began in 1411 to build a castle at the southern end of Visby. In 1439 he was deposed as King of Denmark, but ruled Gotland for eleven years before handing the castle over to the new Danish king in 1448.
In the following years the brothers Olof and Ivar Axelsson Tott played a prominent role on the island. The Danish King Christian II , who had installed Søren Norby as a feudal man over Gotland, was expelled from his country and went to Gotland, which he defended against Danish and Lübeck claims. In 1525 the Lübeckers shot at Visby; but they could not conquer the fortress of Visborg . Nevertheless, the island came back under Danish rule.
The transition to the Lutheran confession took place on Gotland in the 16th century, but is not documented in detail.
In 1645 Gotland came back to Sweden after nearly 300 years in the Peace of Brömsebro . The island was granted to the former Queen Christina in 1654 as a land of maintenance. In the Danish-Swedish war from 1675 to 1679 it was occupied again by the Danes, but they had to evacuate in the end, where they blew up Visby's city castle, the Visborg. In the Northern War 1700–1721 and the Finnish War in 1808, the island was affected by Russian troops before more peaceful times began.
Gotland's importance as a trading metropolis on the Baltic Sea was soon lost because the bays were too shallow as natural harbors for larger and heavier ships.
More recently, some new electrical power transmission techniques have been tried out on Gotland Island. In 1954, the first operational facility for high-voltage direct current transmission in the western world, the HVDC Gotland, went into operation between Gotland and mainland Sweden . In 1999, the HVDC connection of a wind farm was carried out on Gotland for the first time ( HVDC Visby-Nas ).
badges and flags
The coat of arms and the official flag of Gotland show in blue a silver, gold-armored and gold-tongued ram, who holds a red flag on the gold long cross with a gold flight part with the right barrel. There is also an unofficial version of Gotland's flag with a green cross on a yellow background.
The Gotland fishing villages (Swedish Gotländska fiskelägen) are typical of Gotland Island. Today there are still around 150 fishing villages of various sizes, which in the past were primarily used by the farmers living on the coast ( Hallshuk , Helgumannen , Kovik ). Eleven of them are under monument protection . Seals were also hunted from Fårö .
The country churches
There are almost a hundred, mostly well-preserved, country churches, most of which date from the Middle Ages. The oldest are the churches in Atlingbo , Fardhem and Stenkyrka (stone church). As an example of the wooden churches used before 1150 AD, a partial reconstruction of the Hemse church can be seen in the Stockholm State Museum. The Gotland churches surprise not only with their reliefs , frescoes and baptismal fonts, but also with a large number of wooden crosses of high artistic quality. The Gotland triumphal crucifixes are a particularly beautiful species. In the church of Öja hangs a triumphal crucifix from the 13th century, which is unique of its kind in Scandinavia .
Art on Gotland
The town of Broa on Gotland gave the name for an early medieval artistic phase of the Viking style, the so-called "Broa phase" in the second half of the 8th century, which is a subspecies of the Oseberg style . It is characterized by a conglomerate of motifs and styles. Long and threadbare branches create a network of loose loops around the main animals. These ribbon-shaped animals are a late offshoot of the Scandinavian animal ornamentation, which originated in the 6th century.
In 1900 the painter William Blair Bruce and the sculptor Carolina Benedicks-Bruce moved to their Brucebo country house in Väskinde . In the years that followed, various visual artists came to visit there, but also writers and musicians. Since 1937, young artists have been accommodated there as scholarship holders. After the Second World War, various films by director Torbjörn Axelman were made in Brucebo . The house has been open as an artist museum since 2012.
Andrei Tarkowski's last film , Victim, was made on Gotland . The exact location where the house shown in the film was burned down twice is 56 ° 59'52.30 "N, 18 ° 22'38.86" E; But there are no more traces of the house, only the nearby wood is still unchanged. Many Tarkowski fans make a pilgrimage here every year. In addition, the crime series Maria Wern, Kripo Gotland (2008-2016) and Der Kommissar und das Meer (since 2007) are playing on Gotland .
Museums on Gotland
- Bunge open air museum
- Brucebo Art Museum
- Gotlands Museum in Visby (art museum)
- Gotlands Fornsal in Visby (prehistory)
- Folklore open-air museum Norrlanda Fornstuga
- Vikingabyn in Tofta
Today Gotland is a popular holiday destination, especially for Swedes; because the climate of the Baltic Sea island is mild. The island is particularly popular with bicycle tourists and young people. Sights on Gotland as well as on the smaller neighboring island of Fårö include the Raukar . These are peculiarly shaped limestone pillars up to ten meters high on the stone beaches of Digerhuvud and Langhammars , known as "Klappersteinfelder" , in the forests near Lickershamn , in the south near Hoburgen and in the east near Ljugarn.
The main attraction of the island is the medieval town of Visby. One of the largest medieval festivals in the north takes place here every year in the 32nd calendar week. Medeltidsveckan (Medieval Week ) attracts around 40,000 visitors to Gotland every year. Visby is then transformed for a week into a lively Hanseatic city from 1361 with costumes, music, theater, market and juggling.
On the island in Kneippbyn, not far from Visby, there is also the Villa Kunterbunt , known from Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books. It's the original building from the films, all of which were filmed on the island. In the building you can see Mr. Nilsson's jacket, Pippi's little monkey, as well as the typewriter on which Astrid Lindgren wrote her stories.
The "official" Kubb World Championships have been held annually in Rone since 1995 . A total of 192 teams, each with six members, came together in 2002 to win the title. The age of the participants ranged from 8 to 85 years.
From the mainland ports of Oskarshamn and Nynäshamn as well as - seasonal - Västervik there are ferry connections from the shipping company Destination Gotland to Visby. Within the archipelago there is a free ferry connection to the island of Fårö .
Visby has an airport that is served by Stockholm and several other Swedish cities. There are also connections to Helsinki and Oslo through Gotlandsflyg . From 2009 to 2011 there was a direct flight connection with Berlin through Air Berlin during the summer months .
Several city bus routes operate in Visby. The rest of the island is accessible by regional bus services, which mostly start from the bus station in Visby. There is also demand-driven transport.
In 1878 the first railway on Gotland was inaugurated. The route went from Visby to Hemse. Until 1921 the line was extended to the north and south. In addition, additional routes and a few short field railways were built for limestone transport. With the exception of a reconstructed short museum railway and a field railway, the railway lines no longer exist today.
Limestone has been used as a building material since prehistoric times. Dry masonry (Swedish called Kallmur) is part of some prehistoric roes ( Kauparve ) and Fornburgen ( Torsburg ). A particularly large number of limestone buildings were erected during the Middle Ages. In Visby, the curtain wall, the church ruins and the granaries are evidence of this. The medieval quarries were in Bro, Hejdeby and north of Visby. The limestone quarry was carried out by the farmers until the middle of the 17th century. Stones were probably exported to cities on the Baltic Sea even before the cathedral was built in Lund (1103–1145). The burning of lime began in the Middle Ages. It was initially carried out in small piles for household use. A medieval kiln was discovered outside of Nordergravar during the 1970s. It is believed that it was used in connection with the construction of the Visby curtain wall. With the trading privilege granted by Heinrich the Lion in 1161, the Visby Hanseatic people appropriated the lucrative lime industry. Previously insignificant places such as Barläst , Bläse , Fårösund , Kappelshamn , Katthammarsvik , Kyllaj , Länna, Lauters, Lergrav, Lörge, Sankt Olofsholm , Storugns and Värnevik flourished. A quarry near a port was a prerequisite for lucrative lime production. Lime kilns were built there, which were formative for the island from the 17th to the middle of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 17th century, the first of these large kilns was built on St. Olofsholm. There is a description of the pre-industrial distilling process by Carl von Linné , who visited the island in 1741. Restored lime kilns are now industrial monuments in Barläst and Kyllaj.
There is sandstone in the area from Grötlingbo to the southern tip of the island. The quarries, in which stones have been quarried and worked since prehistoric times, were close to one another. In the Middle Ages, building material for churches and other houses as well as stone blocks for the production of baptismal fonts - both for the own churches and for export - were extracted.
Due to climate change, the former software specialist Lauri Pappinen came up with the idea of growing wine on Gotland in 2000 . After initial attempts, he relied on the Rondo , Phoenix and Solaris grape varieties . His winery "Gutevin" professionalized and got several competitors, including "Vinhuset Halls Huk". Together they form one of the northernmost wine-growing regions in Europe, far north of the previously assumed wine limit of 52 ° N.
- Gotland picture stones
- Gotland's Fornsal
- Stonemasonry on Gotland
- Pottery tradition on Gotland
- Wall paintings on Gotland
- Lummelunda Grotto (Swedish Lummelundagrottan)
- Christian Dietrich Grabbe , German poet of the Vormärz, wrote the drama Duke Theodor von Gothland in 1827 .
- Gotland . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 7, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 561.
- Marita Jonsson, Sven-Olof Lindquist: Gotland cultural guide. Almqvist and Wiksell, Uppsala 1993, ISBN 91-88036-09-X .
- Erland Lagerlöf, Gunnar Svahnström: The churches of Gotland. Stein, Kiel 1991, ISBN 3-89392-049-8 .
- Ernst Rieber: Gotland in history and art (= Die Karawane. 3/1974). Ludwigsburg 1974. (3rd edition, 1979; karawane.de PDF).
- Axel Munnecke: Formation of micritic limestone in the Silurian on Gotland (= Courier Research Institute Senckenberg. 198). Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-929907-40-2 .
- Birger Nerman : The Vendelzeit Gotland. Volume 1-3. Stockholm 1969–1975.
- Erik Nylén : Gotland. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 12, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1998, ISBN 3-11-016227-X , pp. 466-483.
- Ulrich Quack: Gotland. The largest island in the Baltic Sea. A Swedish province of particular charm. Culture, history, landscape. DuMont, Cologne 1991, ISBN 3-7701-2415-4 .
- Jens Henrik Kloth, Ulf Lovén: Gotland's nature. En reseguide. Gotlands fornsals förlag, Visby 2001, ISBN 91-88036-40-5 (Swedish).
- Sigmund Oehrl: Gotland's picture stones. Problems and new ways of their documentation, reading and interpretation (= Studia archaeologiae medii aevi. 3). Likias Verlag, Friedberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-9820130-1-5 .
- Gotland Region website (Swedish)
- Gotland - Official Visitors Guide (Swedish, English)
- Experience Gotland - Destination Gotland
- Weites.Land - discover Gotland
- guteinfo.com (Swedish)
- The churches of Gotland. ( Memento from July 18, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (Swedish, English)
- Roger Öhrman: History of Gotland. ( Memento from June 18, 2002 in the web archive archive.today )
- Järnvägar on Gotland. ( Memento from February 14, 2008 in the web archive archive.today ) Gotland's railway history
- Statistisk årsbok för Sverige 2009
- Folkmängd i landskapen ( Memento from August 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
- Characterization and classification of gotländska ytvatten enligt ramdirektivet för vatten. 3, 2005, p. 22. (Swedish)
- Hans Hansson: The gotländska kusten. In: Henning Stålhane (ed.): Den svenska historien 2: Medeltid 1319–1520. Stockholm 1966, pp. 56-57.
- Georg Wilhelm Sante (ed.): History of the German Lands - "Territories Ploetz". Volume 1: The Territories until the End of the Old Empire. A.-G.-Ploetz-Verlag, Würzburg 1964, p. 131.
- Gotland Olympics website. (No longer available online.) In: gotland.net. Archived from the original ; Retrieved January 15, 2012 .
- Summer timetable Destination Gotland ( Memento from June 22, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 17, 2017.
- Bus timetable Gotland Summer 2017 ( memento from August 25, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on May 15, 2019.
- Gotland bus timetable from August 20, 2017 , accessed on August 23, 2017.
- Swedish wine producers defy adverse conditions. ( Memento from March 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) on sweden.se.
- "Viticulture in Climate Change" on SWR.de.
- “Vinmakarna vid vinhuset Halls Huk” in Gotlands Allehanda from September 22, 2007.