Medieval Week on Gotland

Medieval Week on Gotland
The Medieval Week on Gotland (Medeltidsveckan) is an annual festival held in the Swedish city of Visby. For a week every August, Visby is transformed into a Medieval city filled with people in period clothes and entertaining activities for everyone to enjoy.

Visby is a small city located on the island of Gotland, Sweden. It is arguably the best-preserved medieval city in Scandinavia. A former Viking site, Visby was the main center of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic from the 12th to the 14th century. In 1995, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visby is probably best known due to the Battle of Visby that was fought in 1361 between the forces of King Valdemar IV of Denmark and the Goutnish yeomen army. The battle was devastating for the citizens of Visby. The Danes killed about 1,800 Gotlanders and the inhabitants of Visby surrendered to avoid further losses. They had to pay Valdemar IV a large amount of gold and silver to save their city from being sacked by the Danish army.

The Medieval Week on Gotland is a historical reenactment of Valdemar’s entrance to Visby and ransoming of the city. It has been staged every year since 1984. Since 2001, the festival has also included a reenactment of the battle itself. It takes place outside the Visby city wall and features participants from Europe and the United States.

The Medieval Week is one of major tourist attractions on Gotland. Alongside historical reenactments, the festival features a Medieval marketplace, jousting tournaments, street theater, music and dance, fire shows, church concerts, lectures, walks, storytelling sessions. More than 500 events are held over a week, attracting about 40,000 visitors from all over Sweden and abroad.

Jousting tournaments are the main highlight of the Medieval Week on Gotland. They are held throughout the entire week and during the rest of the summer, both in Visby and in the countryside. Each performance lasts for about 90 minutes and features knights on horseback, archers and jesters.

The marketplace is the heart of the festival. Here local artisans offer all kinds of goods including weapons and armor, period clothing, leather craft, jewelry, and fabrics. Of course, there are food vendors who offer everything from grilled lamb to boar burger. The marketplace also features a medieval carousel, entertainment stages, and more.

Medieval Week on Gotland

Photo: Daniel Langhammer




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