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Gävle
Gävle - the Old Town
Gävle is located in Sweden
Gävle
Coordinates: 60°40′N 17°10′E / 60.667°N 17.167°E / 60.667; 17.167Coordinates: 60°40′N 17°10′E / 60.667°N 17.167°E / 60.667; 17.167
Country Sweden
Province Gästrikland
County Gävleborg County
Municipality Gävle Municipality
Area [1]
 - Total 41.79 km2 (16.1 sq mi)
Population (2005-12-31)[1]
 - Total 68,700
 - Density 1,644/km2 (4,257.9/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Gävle ['jɛ:vlə] is a city in Sweden, the seat of Gävle Municipality and the capital of Gävleborg County. It had 68,700 inhabitants in 2005.[1] It is the oldest city in the historical Norrland (Sweden's Northern Lands), having received its charter in 1446 from Christopher of Bavaria.

Contents

History

Coat of arms.

It is believed that the name Gävle derives from the word gavel, meaning river banks in Old Swedish and referring to the Gavleån (Gävle River). The oldest settlement was called Gavle-ägarna, which means "Gavel-owners". This name was shortened to Gavle, then Gefle, and finally Gävle.

For a long time Gävle consisted solely of small, low, turf or shingle roofed wooden buildings. Boat-houses lined the banks of Gavleån, Lillån, and Islandsån. Until the 1700s the town was built, as was the practice then, around the three most important buildings: the church, the regional palace, and the town hall.

Over the last 300 years Gävle has been ablaze on three different occasions. After the fire of 1776 the town was rebuilt with straight streets and rectangular city blocks. The number of stone and brick houses also started to increase. The biggest town fire occurred 1869, when out of a population of around 10,000 approximately 8,000 inhabitants lost their homes, and about 350 farms were destroyed. Almost the whole town north of Gavleån was burnt down. All the buildings south of Gavleån were saved. An area of the old town between the museum and the library has been preserved to this day as a historic reserve, Gamla Gefle.

After the catastrophe of the fire Gävle developed its characteristic grid plan with large esplanades and green areas. It is now a green town with wide avenues. Stopping the spread of future town fires was the main idea behind this development.

An extensive redevelopment of the central town area was started during the 1950s. Around 1970 Gävle became a large urban district when it was united with the nearby municipalities of Valbo, Hamrånge, Hedesunda, and Hille. New suburbs like Stigslund, Sätra, Andersberg, and Bomhus have grown up around the central city.

Gävle goat

The Gävle Goat.

The history of the Gävle goat began in 1966. Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of placing a giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas goat of straw in Slottstorget (Castle Square) in central Gävle. On 1 December the 13-metre tall, 7-metre long, 3 tonne goat was erected on the square. At midnight on New Year's Eve, the goat went up in flames. The goat has since had a history of being burnt almost every year, 2005 being the 22nd time it was burnt. Burning the goat is an illegal act and not welcomed by most citizens of Gävle, but undoubtedly this is what has made the goat famous. In 2006 the goat was covered in a flame-resistant coating to prevent arson, enabling the goat to remain standing throughout that winter.

Geography

Gävle is situated by the Baltic Sea near the mouth of the river Dalälven. At 60 degrees north and 17 degrees east, Gävle has the same latitude as Helsinki and the same longitude as Vienna and Cape Town.

Gävle has a similar climate to the rest of central Sweden, with an average temperature of −5 °C (21 °F) in January and +17 °C (63 °F) in July. Yearly rainfall is around 600 mm (24 in).

Economy

Gävle Industry

Trade from the port of Gävle increased markedly during the 1400s when copper and iron began to be exported from the port. In order to ensure that all trade was via Stockholm, sailing to foreign ports from Gävle and a few other ports was forbidden.

During the 1500s, Gävle was one of the most important port and merchant towns with many shipping companies and shipyards.

In 1787 Gävle was awarded "free and unrestricted sailing rights" to and from foreign ports. This led to an increase in trade, which in turn lead to an increase in buildings, industrial developments, trade and shipping.

Today there are few shipping companies or shipyards left, but an important port remains. It has over 1000 ships calling per year and is among the top ten common ports in Sweden.

Major companies

Education

The University College of Gävle currently enrolls 12,500 students. It offers courses of study in six departments: Business Administration, Education and Psychology, Caring Sciences and Sociology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics, Natural and Computer Sciences and Technology, and Built Environment.

Some courses are given in English, taught both to visiting students from foreign partner institutions and to Swedish students.

Miscellaneous topics

Gävle is mostly known for the coffee called Gevalia, produced by Kraft General Foods Scandinavia and exported under the brand-name Maxwell House (Gevalia is the Latin name for Gävle); its Gävle goat, the Läkerol throat lozenges and car-shaped sweets Ahlgrens Bilar; and its ice hockey team Brynäs IF.

Due to large forest and pulp industries, many people perceive Gävle as often smelling bad.[2]

Notable residents

Sports

Gävle has teams competing in the highest national league in both football (Gefle IF) and ice hockey (Brynäs IF). The town is also home to a wrestling team called BK Loke.

Music

Gävle is the hometown of young progressive rock band Beardfish (band), who have released 5 albums and are signed to German label InsideOut Music.

In 2009, DJ Adam Beyer was robbed while playing a set in Gävle. According to an announcement by Mr Beyer he was in Gävle with the intention of supporting the local scene but is now unsure if he will return to Gävle. Mr Beyer encouraged his fans to "Don´t let the dark side take over!".

Whisky

Mackmyra, a suburb of Gävle, is home to Mackmyra Whisky, the only whisky distillery in Sweden. Malt whisky has been produced there since 1999.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Tätorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2000 och 2005" (in Swedish) (xls). Statistics Sweden. http://www.scb.se/statistik/MI/MI0810/2005A01B/T%c3%a4torternami0810tab1.xls. Retrieved 2009-05-10.  
  2. ^ Odor problems in the paper industry, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 58 Issue Basic Odor Research Correlation, Pages 34 - 36, 12-22-2006
  3. ^ Andreas Rudman and his Family (by Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig . Swedish Colonial News,Volume 2, Number 1. Winter 2000) [1]

External links

Murkrona.svg Gävle is one of 133 places with the historical city status in Sweden.


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Old Town
The Old Town

Gävle [1] is a provincial town in southernmost Norrland on central Sweden's East Coast, with an industrial heritage, large parks and a small university college. Some 93.000 people live in the municipality. The old town with its colourful wooden houses is authentic.

Get in

Being a railway hub in southern Norrland, Gävle can be reached by a variety of trains from all over Sweden, including Malmö, Göteborg, Linköping, Stockholm, Örebro, Sundsvall, Östersund, Boden, Kiruna, and Narvik.

Gävle is also a junction of several inter-country highways e.g. E4, R67, R68, R76 and R80.

Gävle has a commercial port which serves the wood and paper industry as well as the metal industry in central Sweden.

Get around

Gavle Taxi service is usually reliable and can show on short notice (15min or less). A typical ride is 60-70:- You can get to about everywhere in town on bicycle. Most of the central shopping areas in Soder and in the Centerum are in walking distance of the downtown hotels. The train station is a short walk from Centerum. Trains frequent northern destinations and south to Uppsala and Stockholm. In summer travel season, book early (5 days in advance) to Arlanda as trains can get quite crowded. As in most places in urban Sweden taxi drivers and railroad booking agents speak good English.

The Goat
The Goat
  • Swedish Railway Museum, Rälsgatan 1, +46 26 14 46 15. Open Tue-Sun 10AM-4PM (Jun-Aug open daily).
  • Gävlebocken, During the Christmas season local business owners contribute to construct a large straw goat in Castle Square. The goat often is victim of a fiery death by pranksters.

Do

There are lots of possibilities to go canoeing on the numerous lakes of Gävle's region. Fishing is a popular recreation as most outdoor activities are during the summer months as most Swedes exit the towns for cabins and camping in the countryside.

  • Furuvik Park, is a short drive south of town. Furuvik features a small carnival and arcade for toddlers as well as a small zoo and cold war era coastal defense installation and museum.
  • The Falun Koppargruva is a short drive west of town in Falun. The copper mine has guided tours and features in depth historical tidbits of early Sweden.

Buy

There are a few enclosed shopping malls downtown, other than that most storefronts are located along the main drags in downtown and south.

Eat

Restaurant choices range greatly. There are plenty of street kitchens (sausage, pizza and kebab stands) and fast food joints such as Frasses, Max Burger and McDonald's available in the center of town. There is a themed restaurant called Church Street Saloon which serves American-western style food and flair. There are a few asian restaurants such as Lilla Saigon on S. Kungsgaten. Not too far down Cheers and O'Leary's, a casual dining choice with typical Swedish fair. Grocery stores are limited to Konsum and ICA but is a good idea to self cater. There are plenty of good bakeries available. Wayne's Coffee above Stadium in the Centerum has wifi access and good coffee. Food prices compared to US dollars is quite expensive, so be aware the exchange rates.

Drink

Most bars/clubs are within walking distance, so follow the crowds.

  • O'Leary's transforms into a nightclub on weekend afterhours with a bar and dance club in the basement.
  • Heartbreak Hotel near downtown is also another popular destination for drinks.
  • If you are looking for more upscale discotheque atmosphere, Goya is most definitely the best nightclub in Gavle [2].
  • There are several other bars on S. Kungsgaten offering billards and a more relaxed atmosphere.

Sleep

STF Gävle/Gamla Gefle Södra Rådmansgatan 1, a youth hostel in the old town, walking distance from the railway station. 145 SEK/bed.

Get out

The easiest way to leave is by taking one of the numerous trains heading south to Stockholm-Arlanda. Prices vary greatly. Be sure to indicate first or second class and be flexible on times. Don't be afraid if you must take a connection in towns such as Tierp, Uppsala, Marsta. The older SJ trains are dirty and uncomfortable, so if you see an option of Upplands Lokaltrafik, take it as they are brand new trains with more spacious seating. There is plenty of time to change trains or board a bus. In the busy season, allow plenty of time for arrival of your train as Arlanda can get very crowded. The bus trip can easily be a 3+ hour journey south as the E4 is currently under construction near Tierp.

Routes through Gävle
StockholmUppsala  W noframe E  Sundsvall
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