An Excursion to the City of Kalmar

History

Along an old trading route lay a harbor, where the seed began to grow to what eventually became the city of Kalmar. The name Kalmar may be mentioned for the first time in the 9th century, when a runestone in Sörmland tells the story of a man in the “Kalmarna sundum” (“Kalmar Straight”). Kalmar, whose inlet is surrounded by rock, was considered a very dangerous passage for seafarers. Even today, at low tide, you can see the stone banks from the Öland bridge.

Kalmar Cathedral. Image credit: Wikimedia.

By the middle of the 13th century, Kalmar was one of the most important cities in the Nordic region, a flourishing trading city where traders were largely made up of wealthy Germans. Products from the Kalmar area were dispatched to the world. Stone from Öland, tar and wood from Småland, and iron, butter, leather and grain from surrounding areas. Imports included salt, beer, wine, malt and spices.

The Hanseatic League in 1400. Image Credit: Wikimedia.

Kalmar was an important city of the Hanseatic League, a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe. Other Hansa cities along the route were Novgorod, Riga, Visby, Falsterbo, Danzig, Lübeck, Hamburg, Cologne, Bruges and London. In other words, it can be concluded that Kalmar was part of an extensive trade exchange at an early stage. The German merchants dominated trade in the Kalmar area for several hundred years.

Kalmar diocese was founded in 1602. The Danes occupied the castle in 1611 and burned down the entire city. In yet another devastating fire in 1647, the rulers decide to move the entire city to a different location,  Kvarnholmen. A ring wall is built around the city center. Kalmar County is formed in 1634. Kalmar Cathedral is completed in 1703.

The railway becomes part of Kalmar’s infrastructure, as the Kalmar-Alvesta-Växjö railway line is completed in 1874. Industrialization begins in the Kalmar area. The steam mill opens in the same year. After more than 300 years as an independent diocese, Kalmar becomes part of the diocese of Växjö from 1915.

View from the island of Öland overlooking Kalmar Straight.
The Öland Bridge joins Öland with the mainland. The bridge has a total length of 6072 meters. Image credit: Wikimedia.

The Öland Bridge is opened in 1972. In 2005, the regal ship Kronan is excavated. Kronan was lost in the battle of Öland in 1676, and the treasures found on board consisted of the largest collection of coins ever found in Sweden.

Kalmar Castle

By the end of the 12th century, Knut Eriksson made a defense tower which became the foundation of Kalmar Castle. In the 1280’s, Magnus Ladulås gave orders to build another defense castle around the old castle. What was initially a single defense tower, became a larger defensive structure adjoined with Kalmar Castle.

Just over 100 years later, in 1397, Kalmar Castle is the center of one of the most important events in Scandinavia. The Kalmar Union is formed with Queen Margareta, ruling over Sweden, Norway and Denmark as well as associated areas such as Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Orkney- and Shetland Islands. The union lasts between 1397-1523, but in 1483, the so-called Kalmar recess is held, a decision that for natural reasons was very unpopular among the nobility of the three countries.

The 16th century is a very dramatic century in Kalmar’s history. In both 1505 and 1599 Kalmar is exposed to bloodbaths; public executions of nobility ordered by the Danish king Kristian I.

In between, the successor to the Swedish throne (Gustav Vasa) succeeds in escaping from captivity and came to Stensö in Kalmar in 1520. Five years later, Kalmar is liberated by Swedish troops after many years of siege. It is also in the 16th century that Kalmar Castle is rebuilt into a Renaissance castle by Gustav Vasa and his sons. In 1587, the city statutes of Kalmar were signed by Johan III and Sigismund.

Siggaboda Nature Reserve

The nature reserve is located in the Southeastern part of Älmhult municipality. The reserve  is a mixture of forests, mostly deciduous trees. A great number of boulders make the area unique. Many dead or dying trees are found in the area, therefore rare insects, mosses and fungi occur in abundance.

Date: 24.7.2018

Temperature: 32 C

 

Taxås Nature Reserve

Taxås is situated just a few kilometers north of a town called Älmhult, southernmost Smolandia. The municipality of Älmhult, including Taxås nature reserve, is also part of something called the Land of Legends. According to the rich tradition of storytelling and legends in the area, there are trolls living in the dense forests of Taxås. We did not see any trolls, but we sure saw the beauty of nature!

Taxås nature reserve is an area of both land and water. Deciduous forests dominate and many rare flowers grow here. Taxås cliff is known for its spectacular view over lake Möckeln. Close by, a neolithic stone cist can also be found. In the area there are two walking paths of 2 km each.

Location (DD): Latitude: 56.629419 Longitude: 14.165833

Temperature: +3 C

Expedition “Spring Flowers”

Mission

Our objective was to find blooming Spring flowers, an we managed to find quite a few. The weather has been somewhat cold which is good. We don’t want Spring turning into Summer all too quickly.

Temperature: 13 C

Wind: W, 2 m/s

Expedition “Winter”

We took a day off to go on an expedition in foreign forests to see how winter was treating nature. We found no mammals, but a few birds. There was nearly no snow in sight, although the lake was still covered with ice; not thick enough to walk on, though.

Findings

  • One piece of birch bark that we found lying on the ground. There was no bark missing on the surrounding birches, so out guess is that the bark most have been carried there. We took the bark home to the Nature Lab. Hopefully, we can make something nice out of it.

Temperature: 1 C

Wind: SW, 2 m/s