West Coast pearl.
Marstrand is an urban area in kungälv municipality, located on the two islands marstrandsön and Koön. Marstrandsön is located at the far end of the sea. The ferry runs from Koön, which has a road connection with the mainland.
Ship freight, trade and fishing used to be the city's main industries, but fishing has gone up and down sharply in line with the availability of herring, which has governed the city's economy. Marstrand has been hit by war several times during both Danish-Norwegian and Swedish times. The traditional industries declined sharply in the 19th century, but at the same time Marstrand became one of the country's earliest and most popular seaside resorts, which gained extra high status thanks to King Oscar II's annual visit.
Marstrandsön has a wooden house town that in the summers today is a significant tourist destination and Sweden's sailing metropolis. Marstrand is the starting point for Marstrandsregattan, Match Cup Sweden RC44 and other major sailing championships.
As early as the 12th century, Harald Gille established a monastery on Marstrand Island, but the town of Marstrand was not founded until the 13th century by King Haakon Haakonsson (died 1263). This happened before 1226, when in his saga, written by the Icelander Sturla Þórðarson, it is described that "...he had a castle made at Kungälv on Ragnhildsholmen, he had Gullö and the Öcker Islands built and cleared and a wooden church built there; he had Marstrand and many other deserted islands in the Bay built", and that a battle then took place in the harbour between the rebellion party Ribbungarna and Skulle Jarl's two envoys Kolbein Ketturygg and Grunde skattmästare. The story also says that 'there were many merchants in the harbour, who did not want to come to the rescue of the envoys'. In 1449, the Danish King Kristian I (who became King of Sweden in 1457) was elected King of Norway in Marstrand. In 1658, Marstrand and the rest of Bohuslän became part of Sweden under the Treaty of Roskilde. In the same year, the construction of Carlsten Fortress began.
Carlsten Fortress is located at the top of Marstrandsön above the city buildings and dominates the cityscape. After Bohuslän and Marstrand fell to Sweden at the peace in Roskilde in 1658, construction started on Marstrandsön
On August 5, 1775, Marstrand received free port privileges from Gustav III, known as Porto Franco as an Italian model. This meant a degree of autonomy towards the rest of the country, including freedom of religion, freedom from screeching and free immigration. Even criminals could be given sanctuary, provided they reported their crime to the city authority. In a conflict-ridden Europe, the free port of Marstrand was a good option for traders. Not least, hundreds of ships came from America, which had been blockaded by England with which it was at war.
However, the Swedish state did not make as much money at the free port as had been anticipated, not least because of extensive smuggling. The city's rulers also felt that there could be enough criminals and foreign traders, which is why they called for the withdrawal of free port privileges, which took place on 15 May 1794. What was not expected was that the herring period that started in 1747 would end in 1808, which made Marstrand once again a poor small town.
In 1800, Marstrand received an optical telegraph. Shipping, trade and fishing declined sharply in the 19th century, but at the same time Marstrand became one of the country's earliest and most popular seaside resorts, which gained extra high status thanks to King Oscar II's annual visit. The ship's boys' corps was installed in 1907 at Marstrand. On 17 May 1991, instöbron was completed, which gave Koön a ferry-free connection with the mainland. 1994 was the first year that the annual Matchracing regatta was arranged.
In the present, Marstrand is an exclusive seaside resort with high property prices and a hangout for happy summer guests. A wonderful little place on earth!