ABOUT TINGSTÄDE TRÄSK
Tingstäde träsk is Gotland’s second largest lake, it covers an area of 4.68 km² and is located 44.1 meters above sea level. The lakes maximum depth is 1.7 m (5.6 ft) and the bottom consists almost exclusively of mud with sections of sand and stone.
The lake is one of Gotland’s most species-rich lakes and the fish stock consists mostly of pike, perch, yeast, roach, tench, osprey and ruda. There has previously been a relatively extensive recreational fishing in the lake, but since 2015 this has been prohibited.
POINTS OF INTEREST
1. Tingstäde kajak’s facilities
Here you will find kayaks, canoes and all other equipment included in your booking. Use the codes from the confirmation email to unlock the correct lockers.
2. Launching and recovering
Use the accompanying cart to transport the kayak or canoe to the launch site at “Skalbergs jetty”, across from Mjölkgatan.
3. Tingstäde waterworks
On Gotland, there is groundwater mainly in the bedrock, there are no pebble ridges. The transport of water in the limestone bedrock only takes place in cracks. As the groundwater is not sufficient for the water supply, water is taken from Tingstäde waterworks and transported to Visby, among other places. During a normal year, the plant is in operation for 6-8 months, but since April 2015, it has been in operation all year round.
From the lake you can only see measuring equipment and inlets to the waterworks.
4. Tingstäde Church
Tingstäde Church is one of the largest medieval rural churches on the island. It can be seen far and wide, and the 55 meter high tower has served as a navigation mark, despite the fact that the church is ten kilometers from the nearest coast. The church got its final shape in the 14th century, but the oldest parts have been dated to the early 13th century.
Tingstäde Church was one of Gotland’s three asylum churches, where a murderer could receive protection for 40 days. During this time, the relatives of the victim and the perpetrator were able to negotiate terms for a settlement. This practice has probably arisen to prevent devastating blood feuds that would plague the island.
Since you have a very good view of Tingstäde fortress from the church tower, it has been rumored that the stones in the tower have been numbered so that, if necessary, they can be taken down and then rebuilt. Another rumor says that the church tower was once rigged to be blown up if Sweden was attacked. However, there is no evidence for these rumors.
5. Bulverket (Archaeological Site)
The Bulverket is the remains of a large wooden fortress from the 1130s. It consisted of a square platform where each side measured 170 meters with each corner facing the points of the compass. In the middle of the facility was an open, protected water surface with jetties where you could probably moor your boats. For defense purposes, the main construction had been surrounded by a circular stockade that was firmly anchored in the seabed. At times this extended almost fifty meters into the water and it was for the most part provided with double rows.
On the square platform there were both residential and storage buildings, which were built in different techniques. In total, about 25,000 logs had been consumed, mostly pine, which corresponds to about 50 hectares of forest. The number of man-days to build the Bulverket is estimated at about 38,000 and surveys indicate a rapid construction, perhaps in just one year, which would mean that about a hundred people have been employed during this time. Given the organization around the work, and that the farms could not completely spare manpower for Bulverket’s construction, large parts of northern Gotland must have been involved in the project.
The reason for building the Bulverket is today unknown, although there are many theories, and according to excavated bottom sediments, it was not used for very long, perhaps only half a century. The construction is now scattered in large timber piles at the bottom of the lake and can be seen from both the water surface and the air.
6. Tingstäde radio
Above the tree line you can find a number of masts that are part of Tingstäde radio, a station that has been in both military and civilian use for almost 100 years.
In 1912, the station moved into a newly built bunker in Tingstäde fortress. When the First World War broke out in 1914, the station was ordered to stay open around the clock, which caused problems with the electricity supply as the radio equipment was powered by accumulators which in turn were charged with kerosene engines. Because of Gotland’s immediate vicinity to Russia the war was replaced by the Russian Revolution as its main point of interest, and in 1919 the station’s tasks were permanently expanded with civilian traffic.
In 1922, the station changed its name to Gotland’s radio station and new equipment with radio tubes was installed. In 1929, the station became a meteorological B-station, and received instructions on how to make international weather forecasts and send weather telegrams, which was especially important for seaplane traffic. In the autumn of 1932, 16 fishermen were rescued in distress at sea, and a warm thank you was extended to the staff of Gotland Radio Station for their participation.
In 1935, new transmitters were delivered and the station finally changed its name to Tingstäde radio. During World War II, additional equipment was installed, including a 3 kW long-wave and short-wave transmitter, and in the late 1950s, the transmitter and receiver stations were separated from each other to improve communication capabilities.
In 2000, the manned radio station was closed down as both military and civilian organizations were centralized in favor of remote-controlled radio equipment. However, Tingstäde radio is still in unmanned use in military and civilian operations.
7. Grodvät nature reserve
Grodvät is a 37-hectare, botanically interesting, wetland area that has been protected since 2004. In the transition between lake and forest you will find a large number of different plants, both those that belong to “agmyrar” and those that only grow in rich marshes.
Along the shore of the lake runs a low embankment created by the movements of the ice during the ice melt. Within this so-called beach barricade, there are contiguous stands of “ag” and “knapp-ag” with elements of other local fauna.
8. Bathing place and airport terminal
The bathing area consists of an approximately 50 meter long sandy beach as well as a jetty and is maintained by Region Gotland. Here you will find an outhouse, waste bins, lifebuoys, benches, playground and barbecue area.
Next to the bathing area is a red, somewhat unassuming, building that was previously an air terminal for domestic seaplane flights. When the surrounding Baltic Sea was judged to be “too bumpy” for landing with passenger traffic, AB Aerotransport opened the first regular route between Tingstäde, Gotland, and Lindarängen, Stockholm, on 1 July 1933. Air traffic was maintained during the summer and operated by pontoon-equipped Junkers 52 aircraft with room for 14-16 passengers . This route was in use until 1939 and in 1942 the airport in Visby was opened.
9. Pillars of water vapor on the horizon
About a 10 kilometers from Tingstäde is the town of Slite where limestone is mined and converted into cement at Cementa’s plant. A process that generates large amounts of water vapor.
Slite cement factory was built in 1917–1919 and expanded rapidly, already in 1920 the cement factory had about 240 employees. After setbacks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the factory was taken over by Skånska cement in 1931, which implemented sharp cuts in the workforce. In the late 1930s, however, the economy turned and the workforce increased again. At the same time, the business community in Slite expanded and more industries were added. The industry continued to grow until the 1950s, when rationalisations reduced the need for labor.
Cementa’s plant in Slite is today one of Europe’s most modern and environmentally friendly cement factories. Here, about 230 people work to produce the majority of the cement used in Sweden.