|o Total||8.65 km2 (3.34 sq mi)|
(31 December 2015)
|o Density||2,120/km2 (5,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
Ystad (Swedish pronunciation: ['y?:sta(d)]; older Danish: Ysted) is a town and the seat of Ystad Municipality, in Scania County, Sweden. Ystad had 18,350 inhabitants in 2010. The settlement dates from the 11th century and has become a busy ferryport, local administrative centre, and tourist attraction. The detective series Wallander, created by Henning Mankell, is set primarily in Ystad.
After the time of Absalon, Bishop of Roskilde and Archbishop of Lund, peace was brought to the area in the 11th century, fishing families settled at the mouth of the river Vassa as herring fishing became the main source of trade. Ystad was not mentioned in documents until 1244, in a record of King Eric's visit to the town with his brother, Abel. A Franciscan monastery, Gråbrödraklostret, was founded in 1267, and Ystad joined the Hanseatic League in the 14th century.
In 1658, Ystad's population was about 1,600 and, by 1850 it had reached 5,000. The increased importance brought by the railway and the garrison in the 1890s drove the population above 10,000.
In his book Inferno (1897), August Strindberg describes Ystad like so:
The little town to which I now betook myself lies in the extreme south of Sweden, on the seacoast. It is an old pirates' and smugglers' haunt, in which exotic traces of all parts of the world have been left by various voyagers.
Some of the main industries of the town are trade, handicraft and tourism, derived from being one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the Scania province and its association with the Wallander detective novels.
The ferry port has services to the Danish island of Bornholm, to Sassnitz in Germany, and to ?winouj?cie (formerly Swinemünde) in Poland, the latter forming part of the E65 road route south from Malmö.
Ystad connects the Ystad Line and Österlen Line railways. Passenger traffic runs between Malmö and Simrishamn (operated by Skåne Commuter Rail). Until December 2017, a direct train service linked Ystad to Copenhagen via the Øresund Bridge (operated by Danish State Railways).
The most popular sport in Ystad is handball, with two big clubs. Ystads IF is in Elitserien (the highest Swedish men's national league, as of 2008 ) whilst IFK Ystad is situated in Division 1 (the second highest league, as of 2008 ). Several famous handball players have played for these clubs, including Per Carlén.
The only newspaper published at present in Ystad is the Ystads Allehanda, which also covers the neighbouring municipalities of Skurup, Tomelilla, Simrishamn and Sjöbo. The newspaper was founded in 1873.
One of Sweden's best preserved medieval monasteries, the Greyfriars Abbey, lies in Ystad. The town also has an additional large medieval church, the Church of the Virgin Mary (Mariakyrkan). Both are highly influenced by Gothic Hansa architecture (which can also be seen in churches around the Baltic Sea, for instance in Helsingborg, Malmö, and Rostock) and are among the best examples in Sweden of Brick Gothic. In addition, there are areas of surviving medieval town architecture, like the Latin school (built c. 1500) and several townhouses. The city is also included in the European Route of Brick Gothic. From the steeple of the Church of the Virgin Mary the Tower Watchman (tornväktaren or lurblåsaren) sounds his horn every 15 minutes from 21:15 to 01:00 to let the people of Ystad know that the town is safe from fire and enemies. The Tower Watchman also says a special line when sounding his horn: "The clock strikes .... (for example twelve). All is quiet! From fire and thieves may God preserve the town!" The tradition has existed since the eighteenth century.