|hedgerow of lilacs|
Funen is the mild island in shelter of the peninsula Jutland and the island Sjælland. It is known as the land of the hedgerows, hedgerows with pollarded poplars or hedgerows with lilacs in May. The rich vigorous lansdcape forms the background of several market towns, located centrally along the coast, especially the towns Fåborg and Svendborg on the southern coast have distinguished themselves by maritime trading and shipping. But the island is also known for its manors and castles, situated more closely than in any other part of the country.
Fåborg is one of few Danish towns which has kept a large part of the little-town look from the past with many well-kept half-timbered houses - in spite of city fires in the civil wars in the Middle Ages and Swedish wars in the 1600s. The town is encircled by a hilly landscape, Svanninge bakker, and has a beautiful view across Fåborg fjord and the Funen archipelago with several small islands. Fåborg has at present about 7.200 inhabitants.
The old market town, Faaborg, is mentioned the first time 25. June 1229 in a document in the National Archive in Paris; a gift letter, issued by Valdemar II Sejr, where he as a morning gift transfers Faaborg (and the southern Funen) to his daughter-in-law, Eleonore of Portugal, when she married his first son Valdemar the Young. He mentions the town as a borg (castle), which means that the town must have existed before that time, maybe coming into existence in the 1100s - and it was probably given its municipal rights in the beginning of the 1200s. The gift letter is used to date the town, and Fåborg could celebrate its 775 years jubilee in 2004.
The town square in the middle of the town, with a fine surrounding environment of old houses in the narrow streets, was an important trading place in the old days. In the middle of the square is the Ymer-Brønd, which is a well and a statue of the giant Ymer and a bull, symbolizing the Genesis. The yellow bell-tower in one of the narrow streets is the landmark of Fåborg; it was built ab. 1450 and belonged to a now demolished church, Sct. Nicolai. Today it functions as a bell-tower for Helligåndskirken (Holy Spirit church) nearby. This church was originally the part of a kloster, which was demolished in 1534 in the time around the reformation. From the top of the bell-tower is a magnificent view to the pretty hills in Svanninge bakker and o the sea south of Funen with all the small islands and a lively traffic of various ships and boats.
Vesterport is a city-gate from the 1400s, the rest of an old fortification with banks, moats and possibly also palisades, which encircled Fåborg in the Middle Ages. It is one of two preserved city-gates in Denmark, the other gate is in the town Stege on the island Møn. Once were intentions of breaking down the gate; a neighbouring merchant was so tired of the noise from rattling horse-wagons and vociferus coachmen that he in 1806 offered to pay 100 rigsdaler to the town in order to forward the demolition. But it showed that the demolition was too expensive, and the city-council decided to keep the gate. During the 1800s it functioned as a custom house.
One of the most important sights in Fåborg is the art museum with an excellent exhition of the Funen painters. ("Fynboerne") . The building itself is a main work in Nordic neo-classicism. The Funen painters were by the Copenhagen critics ironically named the Bondemalerne (the peasant-painters) caused by their provincial tribute to the farmland, the peasants and the cattle. In the museum is a garden with a café.
|Poul Kinafarer's Gård|
In the archipelago south of Fåborg are 90 small islands, of which 25 are inhabited - and ferries and post-ships sail out to many of them, like Bjørnø, Lyø, Avernakø and Ærø. There is also a ferry to Gelting in Germany . A bus goes to the castle "Egeskov" in the summer season.
photo Fåborg 2004/2005: grethe bachmann