Skåne is the most southerly of Sweden’s counties with 1.2 million inhabitants, about 280,000 of whom live in Mälmö, Sweden’s third largest city. To the east, south and west of Skåne is a coastal landscape with both sandy beaches and working fishing and sailing ports. It is, without doubt, the most beautiful part of the Österlen region and around Kristianstad you find the biggest variety of stunning features. Even if the county’s flower, the Prästkrag is spotted, you know you are in Skåne when you see all the golden rape seed flowers. Historically it was a powerful region in olden times and you can still find castles and mansions over the whole area. After Harald Blåtand conquered it in the 900s, Skåne was Danish. Under a peace treaty in 1658, it became part of Sweden. Co operation with Denmark through the Øresund region is important and the building of the bridge at Öresund has meant the connections between Skåne and the Danish region of Sjælland have become easier and more vital. The county flag is red with a gold cross.