Ystad (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈyːsta]) is a town, and the seat of Ystad Municipality, Skåne County, Sweden, with 18,350 inhabitants in 2010. The settlement dates back to the 11th century and the town has become a busy ferryport, local administrative centre and tourist attraction. It is associated with the fictional detective Kurt Wallander whose stories, by Henning Mankell, are set primarily in Ystad and nearby communities. In 1285, the town's name was written Ystath. Its original meaning is not fully understood, but the "y" is probably related to an old word for the yew tree, while -stad is town, or place. In Danish times before 1658 the spelling was Ysted.
History After the time of Absalon, Bishop of Roskilde and Archbishop of Lund, peace was brought to the area in the 11th century, fishing families settled at the mouth of the river Vassa as herring fishing became the main source of trade. Ystad was not mentioned in documents until 1244, in a record of King Eric's visit to the town with his brother, Abel. A Franciscan monastery, Gråbrödraklostret, was founded in 1267, and Ystad joined the Hanseatic League in the 14th century. The charter of 1599 gave the town the right to export oxen. Ystad, together with all of Scania, was transferred from Denmark to Sweden following the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. By 1866 Ystad had a railway connection and it was established as a garrison town in the 1890s. After World War II, ferry services to Poland and to the Danish island of Bornholm were opened.