This trio of stone spires claims to be the only preserved medieval execution site in Europe.
Rising ominously from the top of a small hill in the Swedish municipality of Visby, the Galgberget Gallows are a spooky, and historically important site as one of, if not the only, restored medieval execution site.
The gallows were built around the 13th century to execute local criminals. When in use, the tall stone pillars, which are encircled by a low stone wall, would have supported wooden beams from which criminals would have been hung by ropes and hooks. The brutal kill site was established on the hilltop so that the gallows would have been visible from the sea, warning foreigners coming in from the sea, and locals alike of the consequences for criminal behavior in the area.
Archeological excavation has revealed the bodies of some 30 people near the gallows, all of which were thought to have been executed. Some of the bodies were even held in full wooden coffins, a luxury compared to the rest, and these bodies are thought to have belonged to upper class citizens, revealing that it was not simply base criminals that were executed there.
Remarkably the gallows are said to have been in use all the way up until 1845. Even with this long history of killing, today the gallows are a haunting reminder of what came before, but are more often just seen as a lovely feature of a nature walk.
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