Infobox Settlement
official_name = Visby

image_caption =
image_shield = Visby vapen.svg

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Sweden
subdivision_type1 = Municipality
subdivision_name1 = Gotland Municipality
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Gotland County
subdivision_type3 = Province
subdivision_name3 = Gotland
established_title3 = Charter
established_date3 = 1645
area_footnotes = cite web |title=Tätorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2000 och 2005 |publisher=Statistics Sweden |url= |format=xls |language=Swedish |accessdate=2008-05-15]
area_total_km2 = 12.08
population_as_of = 2005-12-31
population_footnotes =
population_total = 22,236
population_density_km2 = 1841
timezone = CET
utc_offset = +1
timezone_DST = CEST
utc_offset_DST = +2
latd=57 |latm=38 |lats= |latNS=N
longd=18 |longm=17 |longs= |longEW=E
website =
Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Hanseatic Town of Visby

State Party = SWE
Type = Cultural
Criteria = iv, v
ID = 731
Region = Europe and North America
Year = 1995
Session = 19th
Link =

Visby is the only 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 "by", meaning "city". [Nationalencyklopedin, article "Visby"]

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, of which 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. It was inhabited as early as the stone age, probably because of the access to fresh water and a natural harbour.

In the 12th century, Visby Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Mary, was constructed. It was reshaped in the 13th century to its current appearance, and was officially opened in 1225 by the bishop of the Swedish city of Linköping. Several other churches were also constructed in the ensuing centuries. The city flourished, thanks to the German Hanseatic League.

The work on the ring wall was likely begun in the 12th century. Around 1300 it was rebuilt to reach its current height, acquiring the characteristic towers, although some towers were not constructed until the 15th century. The ringwall is still largely intact.

In 1361, Gotland was conquered by Valdemar IV of Denmark and Visby became a Danish city. Important as it was, some setbacks occurred. In 1391, 1394 and 1398 it was taken and plundered by the Victual Brothers, pirates who sailed the Baltic Sea. In 1411, King Eric of Pomerania had the castle of Visborg constructed, and settled himself there for twelve years, during which the city virtually became a pirates nest, and the commerce halted. As of 1470, the Hanseatic League rescinded Visby's status as a Hanseatic town.

In 1525, the final blow came. The merchants of Visby were in a feud with Lübeck in what is now Germany. The lübeckers burned down all Visby's churches except the cathedral. The ruins have been preserved until this day, adding their gravity to the modern city.

Gotland was again conquered by Sweden in 1645 at the Treaty of Brömsebro, after 300 years of Danish rule. The city developed slowly as things were left as they were. In the mid 18th century some attempts were made by Swedish government officials to improve living standards, but little was accomplished. Not until the early 19th century did Visby once again attract commerce and a harbour industry. At the same time - 1808 - Gotland was conquered by Russia, but was peacefully taken back by the Swedes after only a couple of months.

ights and events

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 and by airplanes. The three-hour ferry arrives from Oskarshamn in Småland and Nynäshamn near Stockholm. During summertime the ferry also runs to Grankullavik on Öland. The ferry is run by Destination Gotland and subsidized by the Swedish government.

Visby Airport is located about 5 km north of the city. With 276,000 passengers in 2005 it is the 12th largest airport in Sweden


Panorama simple

fullwidth = 22000
fullheight = 1768
caption = Panorama image of Visby harbour, april 2008
height = 230


Near Visby there is the static inverter plant for the first HVDC interconnection of a windpark (HVDC Visby-Nas).

Notable natives

*Håkan Loob, Ice hockey player, scored 50 goals for Calgary Flames in the 1987/1988 NHL season
*Thomas Lövkvist, bicycle racer
*Christopher Polhem, 18th-century inventor
*Matthias Sunneborn, long jumper, national record holder
*Grave, a death metal band

ee also

*University College of Gotland
*List of Gotland Governors
*Battle of Visby


External links

* [ Gotland Tourist Association] - Visby
* [ World Heritage Visby] - Map with associated picture links
* [ The official Medieval Week Visby site]
* [ Large collection of photos from the Medieval Week (Medeltidsveckan) in Visby]
* [ Information about Visby, the Medieval Week and a collection of photos]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Visby — Administration Pays  Suede !Suède Province historique Gotland …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Visby — Visby …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Visby —   [ viːsbyː], Hauptstadt des Verwaltungsbezirks (Län) Gotland, Schweden, an der Westküste der Insel Gotland, 21 000 Einwohner; evangelisch lutherischer Bischofssitz; Gotlandmuseum; bedeutender Fremdenverkehr; Fährverkehr zum Festland nach… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Visby — Visby, Stadt, so v.w. Wisby …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Visby — /ˈvisby/ (say veesbooh) noun a seaport on and the capital of the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Baltic; an important member of the Hanseatic League. German, Wisby …   Australian English dictionary

  • Visby — /viz bee/; Swed. /vees byuu/, n. a seaport on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Baltic: an important member of the Hanseatic League. 55,346. German, Wisby. * * * City (pop., 1994 est.: 21,462), southeastern Sweden. Located on the northwestern …   Universalium

  • Visby — Ciudad hanseática de Visby Nombre descrito en la Lista del Patrimonio de la Humanidad …   Wikipedia Español

  • Visby — Original name in latin Visby Name in other language Gorad Visbju, VBY, Visbi, Visbia, Visbija, Visbis, Visbju, Visbue, Visby, Visb Vismpi, biseubwi, fysby, visbis, visbiu, visbus, vuVisbyisubyu, wei si bi, wysby, wyzbh, Висби, Висбю, Вісбю, Горад …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Visby — ► C. del SE de Suecia, cap. del condado e isla de Gotland, en el mar Báltico; 21 000 h. Puerto comercial, que perteneció a la Hansa. Museo de antigüedades vikingas. * * * Ciudad (pob., est. 1994: 21.462 hab.), en el sudeste de Suecia. Situada en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Visby — Sp Visbis Ap Visby L Švedija (Gotlando s.) …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

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