Find Businesses and Services in Visby, Gotland

Visby is the largest city on the Swedish island of Gotland; it is arguably 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 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, (genitive singular of Vi) meaning sacrificial place, and bær, meaning "farm" or "settlement". An alternate derivation would be from the Polish "wyspa" (pronounced "vis-pah") which means simply "island". Its population is 22,236 (2005), and it is the seat of the Governor of Gotland County. Like other towns and cities in Sweden, Visby is not a political or administrative entity of its own. It forms an integral part of Gotland Municipality, where it is the seat. The earliest history of Visby is uncertain, but it is known to have been a centre of merchandise around 900 AD. In the 12th century, Visby Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Mary, was constructed. It was reshaped in the 13th century to its current appearance. Several other churches were also constructed in the ensuing centuries. The city flourished thanks to the German Hanseatic League. Some affectionately call Visby the "city of roses and ruins" and natives to the island often just say "town". Whether it lives up to that distinction among other old Swedish cities is debatable.

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. Visby is linked to the mainland of Sweden by ferry. The three-hour ferry arrives from Oskarshamn near Kalmar and Nynäshamn near Stockholm.

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