The Middle Ages gave the people of Gotland a lot of advantages compared to other people around the Baltic Sea with its central position. The town of Visby became an attractive goal for people with other intentions than trading for hundred of years. As mentioned earlier, a lot of traders from other countries settled in the town.
During the Middle Ages a lot of castles, walled towns and other buildings of defence were built all over Europe. In the middle of the 13th century, the citizens of Visby started to build a six meters high city wall without towers. The oldest part is a citadel, nowadays called 'Kruttornet' (gun powder-house) built around 1166.
The war 1288 between the citiziens of Visby, supported by the Germans, and the people on the countryside, supported by knights from Estonia, gave the citizens of Visby a reason to continue the work with the wall. This time the enlargement gave them an 11 meters high city wall with towers. And between the big towers of defence the citizens of Visby even built several sadeltowers hanging upon the wall. All together the city wall became 3,4 km, and it was finished in the beginning of the 14th century.
The wall had 29 big ground-towers, you can still see 27 of the towers today, completed with 22 sadeltowers. Of the later ones, only 9 are still intact.
The towers had 3 or 4 floors where the soldiers could fight from, and on the backside of the city wall the towers were connected with scaffolds made of wood.
Remarkably the strongest part of the city wall is built as defence against the farmers of Gotland, and not from attacks towards the sea.
have been found outside the city wall. The invasion of Gotland by Valdemar Atterdag ended with a battle just outside the city wall the year 1361. The place is named
Korsbetningen. One of the mass-graves is saved for future excavations. You can read more about it by using "The battle" in the menu.
A copy of an armor made of leather and plates of iron. Different models were found in the mass graves outside the city wall, many of the armors have been reproduced by Margareta and Göran Hoas, Västerhejde.
Author: Göran Smitterlau
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