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General Information

Swahili, the primary language and cultural heritage of East African island natives, stems from the Arabic sawa hili, “of the coast.” Indeed, Mombasa’s offshore location is responsible for the unique blend of cultures found in this historic port city. on Kvarnholmen, an island to the north, as a defense strategy. You’ll love Kalmar, the gateway to Orrefors, where some of the world’s most gorgeous glass has been manufactured for centuries. As a medieval cultural center, it was once the most populous city in Sweden (now in third place), and had a tremendous influence on Sweden’s development.

The castle and the town itself are the main attractions. You’ll visit a castle with moats, turrets, grand ballrooms, dungeons, secret passages – maybe even a wizard or two. The town covers over the old city, but you can find some surviving seventeenth century buildings and city walls in the Lilla Torget district. The Kalmar låns Museum has a model of the mediaeval town, where you can see how glorious the large mediaeval church had been (before it was razed when they moved the town). The present town center has actually won awards for its state of preservation.

Another glorious sight you’ll get to see, if you’re there from May through July, is one of the wonders of the world – the Northern Lights.

Pippi Power!

Kalmar is near the birthplace (Vimmerby, Sweden) of Astrid Lindgren, the author of “Pippi Longstocking.” The volume remains the twelfth most translated book in the world.


In the summer, you can take part in “Salve,” a mediaeval, interactive drama that presents Kalmar as it was in the year 1397. It’s complete with knights and craftsmen, drama and dungeons, joints of meat and jousting. Think you know your way around a broadsword? Now’s your chance to find out!

But, if you’ve always wanted fine crystal and never had the budget for it, here’s your opportunity. Take an excursion to Orrefors, or Kosta-Boda, and buy “seconds” from the factory shops after you watched the glassblowers do their magic. You’ll find knitwear, needlework, and woodcarvings in classic Swedish style to round out your shopping experience.

And food? Why, you have to try Baltic herring, of course!


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