Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Kristianstad Vattenriket

Kristianstad converting a risk factor to its advantage.
Vattenriket, a tourist magnet.
Following Carl von Linné.

Naturum Visitor Centre in the middle of Vattenriket and Kristianstad city centre.

The red lines marks the route for the Linné Walk.

Weather conditions challenges Kristianstad

Kristianstad originally, in 1617, served as a protective bastion on a peninsula and this location has given the city specific problems in times of heavy weather conditions with risks of becoming flooded. Draining of land areas started in the 19th century and walls were built to keep the water off the city centre. Effective pumps have also been installed. As a result the lowest point in Sweden, 2,41 metres below sea level, can be found here in Kristianstad. The present city hospital with neighboring area is situated on a former sea floor. Only in 2002 a critical situation emerged when the water level rose 2,15 metres above sea level and the protective wall at Hammarslund was close to collapsing. To save the situation 50.000 ton of rock was transported to the critical section over five days (source: www.kristianstad.se). The water flow in river Helge and the sea is now controlled with the help of Flood Watch that gives ten day prognoses to the authorities. If required a siren called "hesa Fredrik" (hoarse Frederic) will alert the citizens to any danger.

Converting a risk into an opportunity

This area so close to the sea not only carry risks but also possibilities and the option has been utilized by making an application to UNESCO in order to gain a Biosphere Reserve status for what now is called Vattenriket. The status, "designated to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and the nature", was granted only in 2006 and the present Naturum Visitor Center was opened as recently as 2010. Vattenriket has been a success from the beginning with more than 100.000 visitors in its first year. (Source: www.vattenriket.kristianstad.se)

The recent action plan has included e.g. protection of sandy grasslands, expand the knowledge of the ecosystems in river Helge and the lakes, develop ecotourism on land and sea, specific development projects also e.g. concerning the eels and forest management. The development of the Visitor Centre as the gateway into Vattenriket has produced many activities like eagle and crane watching, water safaris, exhibitions, hiking routes, bird watching, fishing and other things. As we have learned living here, typically for Sweden, many of the places are accessible for people with disabilities.

Härlovsborg from the days of Karl XI in the 17th century.

The Linné Walk

A visit into Kristianstad this day gave me an opportunity to follow the tracks of Carl von Linné where he walked some 250 years ago observing the surrounding nature. The following pictures are from the six kilometer long route starting from the Visitor Centre. The above picture of Härlövsborg shows what has been left of a stronghold for Karl XI who lay siege to Kristianstad during the Danish-Swedish war in 1675-1679.

Fields to the left of Lillövägen are clear of water.

First section of the Linné Walk towards the city where fields are partly flooded.

Kristianstad across flooded fields. The church built by Christian IV is a visible landmark.

Lillö ruins

The ruins of Lillö Castle and the "Kings Mansion" (Kungsgården).

Lillöhus was a medieval stronghold owned by the Tott family (see picture below) attacked and destroyed by Swedish troups in 1658 and rediscovered only in the 1940's. Today it carries an exhibition of the medieval life in Lillöhus.

Lillöhus in its original medieval fit.

The Linné Walk is very well designed and easy to walk on. There are resting places along the route to stop at, take a sip of picnic coffee maybe, and enjoy the surrounding nature.

Freshly made paths for easy access.

Towards the end of the Walk the route follows river Helge and reaches a small museum, Kanalhuset.

Final section of the Linné Walk with the visitor centre in the background.

We then enter the city centre by the Tivoli park, cross the pedestrian walkway to the Visitors Centre and this circular tour has ended where it started.

Tivoli park and river Helge opposite the Naturum Visitor Centre.

I am looking forward to the next visit in spring time and certainly also the water safaris. Spring time will also bring large amount of cranes to the area (mainly to Pulken). The regional news reported more than 2000 cranes landing in 2013 that were offered special feeding to protect the surrounding fields. So if you decide to visit Kristianstad then Vattenriket is just 300 meters from the railway station and offer many things for the entire family.

Hope you have enjoyed this tour. Have a very good working week.


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