Romakloster Travel Guide

  • Roma Kungsgård
    Roma Kungsgård
    by Sjalen
  • Things to Do
    by Sjalen
  • Things to Do
    by Sjalen

Romakloster Things to Do

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    by Sjalen Updated Aug 16, 2007

    In one of the annexes, you can follow glassblowing and in fact you can even have a go at it yourself. They also let children try and you can make either a glass bauble or a smaller piece of jewellery, just start by getting a ticket in the shop across the yard and then queue up. Of course your creation has to set properly and so on afterwards, so at an extra cost they offer to mail it to you if you cannot return to pick it up.

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    by Sjalen Updated Aug 14, 2007

    Built 1164 by Cistercian monks, this would be a wonderful piece of heritage but history has not been kind. Monks came here from Nydala in the south of Sweden and named the monastery "Roma" in honour of Rome, which is why the village got the name we all smile at today. In medieval days, the monastery was known as Gutnalia, a name given to it since this place in the middle of Gotland is where the Gotlanders before them held "Thing", i.e. where local chieftains split up Gotland in pieces and ruled over it with regular meetings (Gutnalia comes from "Gutaltinget" which is short for "Gute alltinget" if you speak Scandinavian and know something about the old Thing legal culture). Contrary to many Cicstercian monasteries, this one had quite some funds during these days since trading with Hanseatic cities and owning land in Estonia and on Öland. In the 15th century, it was again mostly referred to as Roma and this is when its troubles started as Gotland was in such an awkward position with wars going on in Sweden, Denmark and the Baltic States and in 1519, the last abbot, Johannes Bohnsack, had to hand over the Estonian land to the Danish king Christian II and with that, the monastery had nothing and the Reformation could put an end to the era which it did sometime before 1531 when Roma became a Kungsgård, i.e. royal farm. If you want an idea of what it might have looked like, head for Fontenay Abbey in Burgundy...

    Today you cannot see more than ruins and the foundations of the dormatory and the annex where the monks housed charity farmhands lent out to local farmers. In the 18th century when Linnaeus visited, there was a roof over the church hall and cattle in the ruins and he is said to have remarked that he had never seen such a fine cow barn. This is when the County Chief Grönhagen had started to remove stone for his mansion project (see intro), and later a Chief Cederström continued the deed :( Walk around in the area and you can also see the old brewery and a recreated herb garden based on finds.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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Romakloster Shopping

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    by Sjalen Written Aug 25, 2007

    The shops are actually one thing that is great about Romakloster, especially the one by the entrance to Romariket where you will find history and nature books on Gotland (also in English and German) as well as all sorts of sheepskin products for both you and your home/car. It is not the cheapest shop in the world but it feels like you are paying for quality. Especially if buying a medieval style robe or cloak. In the less interesting shop by the entrance you can buy more "international" souvenirs (what's soaps from Provence got to do with Gotland?) but also local glass from the factory.

    What to buy: Gotland culture books and sheepskin slippers :)

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Romakloster Tourist Traps

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    by Sjalen Updated Aug 16, 2007

    When queueing up for Romariket in the main building (a pun since an additional "r" would have made it the Roman empire) the people at the entrance don't give you much of an explanation of what you can see. Afterwards, you realise that it is because there is not that much to see. They tell you that you can try archery, axe throwing and such in the gardens and sure, you can, but at an additional cost! All you get is a guided tour (don't know if they do it in English) of the monastery ruins and its herb garden and most of that you can read about on signs in the ground anyway. To see the ruins, all you have to do is follow the road behind the glass factory and you will see it for free. The people running this also have a Knights and Princesses "school" for children (in Swedish) which is why we visited whilst our daughter did that and at least she enjoyed that bit as she got to try on heavy chain mail and such in the Knights Hall in the gardens, even if there were a huge amount of children due to the rain so everything was very delayed. There was also a quiz, although the questions had to be answered in a certain order, not necessarily the one you found them in, otherwise the medieval questions became way to hard.

    Unique Suggestions: Just don't...haha. Go around the corner for free, then it feels OK to fork out for some archery.

    Fun Alternatives: Walk around the countryside alleys and take photos of Roma.

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    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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