Today I thought about the hearts that represent our town instead of the hearts that are pinned up as window displays for alla hjärtans dag. When you walk around our town you will spot hearts everywhere, not only during Valentine’s Day. I thought a brief history of these hearts and my small slice of Sweden would be nice!
(and also I found out a friend from N.Y. will be visiting in the beginning of April and I am already slipping into tour guide mode! He is our first visitor since July when 10 of my family and friends came to Sweden for our wedding. So excited to show him around!!)
Having town privileges since 1307, was the largest city on the West Coast in the Middle ages. Denmark and Sweden had many fights over the Halland Provence, of which Halmstad was the largest part of and was a place of great conflict and interest. During the time when this area of Sweden was ruled by, and was an important fortified city of Denmark, Halmstad received the “three hearts” as a gift from the Danish royal family in the 16th century after having put up a valiant defense against the Swedes. It was in 1645 that the Swedes conquered and took hold of Halmstad.
You can find the hearts anywhere and everywhere: bus stops, railings, buildings, trash cans, etc.! It’s like a huge scavenger hunt! (Another thing to keep an eye out for is the Provence animal, the salmon.)
There are two large landmarks still in tact in this area of Halmstad, having survived a blaze that destroyed the town in 1619. A 15th-century church, St. Nikolai located next to town square, and the Halmstad castle still stand tall. It was earlier in the same year as that fire that the Kings of Sweden and Denmark met in that castle.
Gates of fortification were in place for defense during battles, now only the north one remains, “Norre Port,” the other three were town down in 1734.
I’ve never been to it, but there is a nature reserve that ties into this history quite well. It is called Danska Fall, the precise spot where the Danish army is said to have fallen after the final battle of Fyllebro in 1676. The Danish soldiers escaped via the bridge over the falls to get away from the Swedes, not knowing that they had weakened the bridge, which broke leaving Danes to fall and drown – hence the name “The Danish Falls”.