Swedish province of Skone is located on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula. Its population is around 1.2 million. Name Skone apparently originates from the Old-German skadin-awijo which means a "dangerous island" or "dangerous coast", i.е. that was the name for the coastal waters of the Sound strait (Oresund) northwards.
Do you know that in the Middle Ages all Scandinavian states were united into one large Danish kingdom?! Therefore, all the southern lands of contemporary Sweden, the so call province of Skone, were originally Danish territories. Three main cities of Skane are: Malmo, which hosted Eurovision 2013, Lund – a university town and multinational Helsinborg, with over 160 nationalities. Near Helsinborg, on the other side of the Øresund strait is Danish Helsingør with its Kronborg castle – the place where Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” was set. These cities we are going to visit with you today.
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Our trip will start from your hotel. We will rush across one of the most spectacular bridges, which connected Copenhagen and Malmo in 2000. On the way to Sweden you will learn the story of this crossing construction, which was also the subject of an episode for the Discovery channel series "Super Structures”. The Øresund (Sound) crossing is a 4-kilometer tunnel, built on the bottom of the Sound strait, which further comes out on the surface and turns into an artifical 4 km island and then turns into 8-kilometer bridge that in total have the length of about 16 km. Crossing the bridge is adventurous in itself, though not very long. We will soon be in the city of Malmo and our meeting with this welcoming city will start near the medieval fortress of Malmøhus – one of the oldest Renaissance castles.
Here we will learn about the history of Malmo, and will look at one of the local sights – a 190-metre building called Turning torso, which among the residential buildings in Europe yields only to Moscow 264-metre Triumph Palace. During the walk in Malmøhus castle you will hear the story of this place, which was erected in the first half of the 15th century, learn how the building changed transiting from a fortress to a printing house for making coins, and then it was converted into a castle, where the heir Frederik II organized such great parties and feasts that all the nobles of the time dreamt of. You will learn why this place turned into the largest prison in the 19th century and under what circumstances it became a museum.
Then we will go to the City hall square, where we will see the sculpture of the person who managed to take Malmo from the Danes, and will also visit the historic centre of Malmo on the smaller city square (Lilla torg). You can still see many buildings of the 16th century here. Having walked around this square with numerous cafés and restaurants, we will visit the oldest building, in whose yard you will be able to feel the spirit of the medieval Sweden and will pay a visit to the Malmø's symbol - a Griffin wearing a gilded crown – is sitting in the fountain on the top of the globe. Then we will get back to a car and will go to the city of students, Lund.
Lund is the oldest city in Sweden after Sigtuna, and it is also the oldest city related to the Danish history. Lund used to be a residence for Danish kings several times, as well as the residence of the Danish bishops. From the early 11th century and till the reformation of 1536, the main cathedral of the country was in Lundе.
Our first stop in this city will be in the ancient cathedral, which is the centre of Lund history, culture and science. This is the heart of the city, which has already been beating for over 800 years. Being faced with sandstone that gradually gained the noble grey-yellowish colour, it is situated in the centre of a contemporary city, emitting peace, confidence, stability, loyalty to itself and its guests. Coming inside the cathedral or standing next to it, you start sensing – I mean it, an unbelievable thought of the eternity.
Lund cathedral has mainly been preserved the way it was built in the early 12th century. However, the history of the cathedral is older. Lund cathedral was the place where the first Academy was established. It was the only place, where it was possible to get the highest contemporary education. It was on the basis of this Academy that Lund University was formed step by step.
The modern university emerged in 1667, when the Swedes took the territory of Skane and started the process of teaching Swedish culture. This policy implied the use of Swedish only. All the subjects were taught in Latin and Swedish. Originally there were 4 faculties: theological, medical, philosophical and law. The number of students was 100 people. To compare, today there are 45 000 of them, whereas the number of the city residents is 80 000. Lund is indeed a student city as more than a half of local dwellers are students. Today the university offers 50 different specializations – faculties and has branches in Helsinborg and Malmo and at the same time is in the Top 100 best universities of the world.
Having walked around this hospitable city, we will have lunch in one of the local restaurants, and then will get back in the car to go to the town of Helsinborg, located in the narrowest place of the Øresund strait, where the distance between the Danish and Swedish sides is just 4 km. The legend says that it was in Helsinborg, where the first fortress of the Vikings was founded in the 11th century. The walk around the town starts from the Karnan tower, dating back to the 12th century, to the times of that fortress. Here we will speak about complicated relations between the Danes and the Swedes, and will find out how originally Danish area of Helsinborg became Swedish. After that we will go to the top of the Karnan tower and from the height of 35 meters the whole town will be perfectly seen. Even today it is possible to look around the famous tower and those places, where there once was a local church, a chapel and a ditch surrounding these buildings.
Having contemplated local landscapes, we will go to the centre of Helsinborg, where we will visit one of the most popular sights of the town – St Maria’s church and will find out the way a Lutheran service is held. On the way to the ferry, we pass by the City hall square, and then will be cross the Øresund strait, where we'll talk about similarities between Denmark and Sweden, as well as what makes those countries drastically different, such as alcohol issues, immigration policy, etc.
Having crossed the Øresund strait we will visit Danish Helsingør to see the only castle in Denmark, included into the UNESCO World Heritage list – the castle of Kronborg, which is also thought to be the setting of “Hamlet” tragedy by Shakespeare. After a tour around the castle, having seen royal apartments, castle catacombs, bastions with cannons and warrior Ogier the Dane, defending and guarding the Danish kingdom, we return to Copenhagen.
Tour length: around 9 hours.
1 - 3 people 800 euro
4 - 7 people 800 euro plus minibus rental (around 200 euro)
8 - 15 people upon request.
The price includes: car rent and Copenhagen - Malmo - Lund – Helsinborg – Helsingor – Copenhagen transfer, tickets to the paid bridge and the ferry, entrance tickets to the castle of Malmohus, Karnan tower and Kronborg, guide’s services over 8-9 hours. Food and drinks are paid extra.
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