Part 4: Gotland Stones


The sea stack known as the “coffee pot” or the “dog” in the nature preserve Gamle Hamn on Fårö.

Natural rock formations, stone Viking ship graves, picture stones, city walls made of stone and stone houses.  Gotland has them all.

One day we took the drive north to Farosund, crossed the ferry and toured the island of Fårö.  It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the southernmost part of Gotland to Fårö.


The sea stacks at Langhammars.

Fårö is known for its sea stacks, natural limestone rock formations, known as rauks.  There are many places on Gotland to see rauks, but the most well known are on Fårö.

sea stacks people free


The “coffee pot” or the “dog” from the water side.


There are 350 stone viking ships on Gotland, the best one being the Ganarve stone ship near Fröjel on the west coast.



We also walked through Gålrum, which has 100 viking grave sites, seven are boat shaped.   The sign near the site dated it from 1500 BC to the birth of Christ.  There was also a picture stone dated from the 8th century AD, which had been moved there.  It  has eroded and the pictures are gone.




The largest picture stone we saw is in the Bunge Museet open air museum just south of Farosund.



Many of the homes are made of stone.  You can tell approximately which century they were built by the shape of the stones.  The oldest homes are built from shaped stones, in large blocks.  The “newer” homes from the 18th century and on were stones covered with mortar.



This ruin is the medieval farm called Fredarve.  It was abandoned in the 18th century.


From the sign post at the Fredarve medieval farm site:

The Gotland farmer was often both farmer and trader.  in the Viking Age and Medieval Period, huge fortunes were amassed on many farms through trade with foreign lands.  Skilled craftsmen were employed to build churches and houses of stone, chiefly storehouses for the merchandise.  About 200 of these houses still survive in the Gotland countryside.

The general economic decline on Gotland after 1350 put a stop to the building of churches and stone houses.  Wooden post-and-plank houses with roofs of boards or stone slabs became common.  The outbuildings were often thatched with sedge.

When wood became scarce in the eighteenth century, the state granted twenty years tax relief to those who built houses of stone.  In the stone houses that were subsequently built, the walls were no longer of finely hewn stone but of dry-walled stone, plastered both inside and outside.

The two farm museums we toured had the latter style stone construction, as well as the house we rented.

The wall around Visby, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, was started in the 12th century.

visby wall




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