unbelievably beautiful city, Stockholm is surrounded
by clear water and unspoilt country side that stretches
right into the heart of the urban area. The city's
750-year history has produced many attractive buildings
and plenty of cultural treasures now on display in
its many fine museums. The generally accepted founder
of Stockholm is the 13th century regent, Birger Jarl,
who built a fort to protect Lake Malaren from pirates.
Initially important as a trading centre, the city
did not become the capital of Sweden until the 16th
century. Over the centuries, Stockholm's reputation
as a rustic capital has been superseded by its current
distinction as a dynamic centre of information technology.
Visby has a distinctly youthful ambience, especially
in the summer when its bars and restaurants are packed
with young people, it still has a strong medieval
feel, as ruined churches and converted warehouses
cluster within the city wall. Capital of the island
of Gotland, the city had existed at least since Viking
times, but it was in the Middle Ages, when all Baltic
trade routes met here, that it rose to economic prominence.
Today tourism is an important source of as visitors
come to enjoy Gotland's beaches and lively summer
atmosphere and to see the ample evidence of Visby's