During the past 20 years, Ystad has become a town known for cruel crimes and terrible murders. Kurt Wallander, Mankell’s fictive detective that lives and works in Ystad, is the one to blame. In the wake of numerous Wallander novels, screen versions and tv-series, the small town of Ystad has become internationally famous.
The pittoresque village of Ystad in the south of Sweden is known for its half-timbered houses and the monastery from the thirteenth century. But it is also famous for brutal criminality. Thanks to Kurt Wallander, Ystad has become a popular destination for Wallander fans and people interested in film from all over the world. The town of Ystad recently launched an Iphone application to guide visitors through Wallander’s home town. One of the most important adresses is Mariagatan 10, where the fictive Wallander lived just until a short time ago (today Wallander lives in Svarte, 80 kilometres west of Ystad). This is where Wallander ponders about gruesome deeds and mysterious murders, accompanied by the tones of an opera aria. Meanwhile, the blue Peugeot is parked outside. Obviously, the Wallander apartement in the series cannot be found at Mariagatan, but is a scene built in the movie studio Ystad Studios.
Other places connected to Wallander is Nybrostrand, host of the Ystad policemen’s annual crayfish party, Lilla Norregatan, the street where Wallander’s colleague Svedberg gets murdered in One Step Behind, and Stortorget, the location of Wallanders favourite bookshop. Wallander’s father lives just outside of Löderup in a white stone house, characteristic for the south of Sweden.
All of the books in the Wallander series, as well as Before The Frost, the crime novel about Wallander’s daughter Linda, takes place in or around Ystad. Although, Ystad is not only known for Wallander, it is also one of Sweden’s best preserved cities from the Middle Ages. The city is filled with half-timbered houses, some of them being the oldest in Scandinavia.
Over the centuries Ystad has been under the reign of both the Swedish and the Danish crown. In the past its inhabitants earned their living by herring-fishing, corn- and beef trading. Ystad has never been an important industrial town, but the city has become prominent in trading, agriculture and service. Today it is a popular tourist resort. Being a seaport, Ystad is also one of Sweden’s most important frontier stations towards non EU countries. Furthermore Ystad has several cultural establishments, for example many museums, an opera house and the oldest cinema in Sweden. In 2004 one of three movie centres in Sweden opened in Ystad – Ystad Studios.