Visby, Sweden

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Visby is a locality and the seat of Gotland Municipality in Gotland County, Sweden with 22,236 inhabitants in 2005. It is the only one with historical city status on the 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 NorseVis, (genitive singular of Vi) meaning sacrificial place, and by, meaning “city”. Visby is a popular vacation destination for Scandinavians during the summer and receives hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. 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.

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