At the graveyard of Husaby church you will find this huge rune stone. As you can see on the photo, it had been split in two but got restored and set upright again. The inscription means:
Assur and Sven and Tore, they put this stone over their mother Oluv. God help her soul, and God´s mother and all God´s angels
You will find this rune stone by walking straight from the main entrance of Husaby church towards the end of the graveyard and then turn left.
The Neolithic passage grave (a tomb where the burial chamber is reached along a distinct, and usually low, passage) of Luttra is one of the best preserved of its kind in Västergötland. Still time has not been acting too gracious on this site, this ancient tomb is damaged and even partly destroyed. It only has one roofblock left, and the passage is just a metre long - it originally used to be longer. But it is, nevertheless, an impressive witness of a distant past, being as old as some of the Egyptian pyramides.
Unfortunately when we've been to Luttra, rain was falling in sheets and so we did not really get to explore this fascinating site. But Luttra is on my list of things "to do" next time we're around Falköping!
Close to the village of Källby you will find 2 impressive rune stones, one with a Heathen and the other one with a Christian inscription (you can find a photo of the 2nd rune stone at my Västergötland's rune stone travelogue). The stones were set opposite of each other on top of low hills. The inscription of the Christian stone means:
Ulfr and Ragnarr, they raised this stone in memory of Fari, their father... Christian man. He had good belief in God.
This stone has probably been moved here by count Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie in the 17th century. By placing the 2 stones opposite each other they were meant to become a symbol for the fight between Heathendom and Christianity at the time around the year 1,000 AD.
At the Northern outskirts of the village of Gudhem, right next to the church you will find this impressive ruined convent, established in 1160 as a Cisterican nunnery thanks to donations made by King Karl Sverkersson. Gudhem had originally been under supervision of the nearby monastery of Varnhem. But in 13th century, when Queen Katarina Sunesdotter entered the convent, after the death of her spouse King Erik XI (whose epithet was: the lisp and lame!), Gudhem became one of the wealthiest and most influential convents of Western Sweden. At this time the site was extended, the minster got reconstructed and elaborate stonemason's works were commissioned. Queen Katarina stayed at Gudhem until her death in 1252. A replica of her grave slab can still be seen at the convent.
Gudhem got dissolved in the course of the Protestant Reformation in early 16th century and in 1529 parts of the buildings were destroyed in a fire. Later the ruined convent even served as a stone pit for the nearby Royal Court. Between 1928 and 1969 the site was unearthed and restored.
The convent museum is open daily between May and August and on weekends in September/ October.
In the early Middle Ages Skalunda used to be one of 8 royal estates and also Gaetish lawspeakers resided and worked here. So hundreds of years ago Skalunda used to be a place of political and social importance to Västra Götaland and the area was rather populous. Some of the poeple who lived in this far away past have left traces that can easily be spotted until today. There are rune stones, for example, that have been set to commemorate kinsmen or to tell us of great events out of the dark past. At the churchyard of Skalunda you will find 2 rune stones with the following inscriptions (unfortunately the gravure has not been completely preserved):
Rune stone 1:
and Algísl placed this stone in memory of Særli, their father
Rune Stone 2:
...-ríðr raised the stone in memory of her sons Svein ...
In the Middle Ages some rune stones were fixed in church walls. People thought that rune stones could conjur some evil as many of these relics are of heathen origin. So by imbedding them into churches the stones were thought to lose their powers.
At Ås church you will find a rune stone fixed in the outer rear wall. The inscription means:
Þórir raised this stone in memory of Karl, his partner, a very good valiant man
Interestingly enough there's a rune stone in Hobro (Denmark) with almost exactly the same text. Karl probably died in Demark, and his friend Þórir then raised a memorial stone both where he died and where he used to live.
Amundtorp grave field lies at the Western edge of Billingen, above the plains that stretch towards lake Hornborga. Centuries ago the place has been used as a burial site by several granges in the close vicinity. The oldest graves date back to the early Iron Age. You can find various kinds of ancient graves here: stone circles, a burial mound and stone settings (some of them in the shape of ships). Today 8 graves are still visible, but there probably were more.
Please note that there is a farm very close by and there are cows that graze at the grave field. So on a rainy day, due to the tracks of the cows' hoofs, the ground can become extremely muddy.
Ekornavallen is an ancient grave field close to Hornborgasjön (lake Hornborga) and one of the most remarkable ancient sites of Sweden. The first people were buried here at about 3000 B.C. and the place was used as a burial ground for more than 4000 years hereafter! Countless standing stones, stone circles, cairns, stone settings and barrows can be found in the vicinity (the area with the greatest number of ancient monuments is enclosed by a fence and gets "maintained" by grazing sheep). Maps and descriptions of research scientists of the 18th and 19th century show that there even used to be more ancient sites at and around Ekornavallen, but many of them are lost to us nowadays (due to damages caused by both nature and man).
The Bronze Age was the first metal age (1800 - 500 B.C.). The elite of the Bronze Age were buried in cairns or mounds which were placed on heights in order to be clearly visible. The cairns were individual burials, the body put in a stone cist in the centre. Grave goods that were found are, for example, swords and bronze/ golden objects.
Flat barrows were the most common burial form in Sweden during the Iron Age (500 B.C. - 1000 A.D.). They can be round, oval, 3 or 4 sided or quite irregular. The 3 largest and most clearly marked flat barrows at Ekornavallen are two round and one 3-sided grave. The simplest graves have only the remnants of the containers in which the burnt bones were placed. On the other hand, in the richest graves, weapons, jewellery and imported objects can be found.
With high expectations before my visit and being spoilt so much by Sweden’s beautiful nature, I found the Nature Reserve of Halle- och Hunneberg a little bit disappointing. The park is without a doubt beautiful, but it misses the extra spark, making it in my opinion a bit average. Hahaha, having said that, I have to admit that it beats every nature reserve I've ever seen in The Netherlands, so maybe I am just getting too choosy these days :-)
Halle- and Hunneberg is a perfect place for a lovely walk in the forest, very enjoyable, not too demanding too walk (although I guess that also might depend on which trail you hike). Some parts of the park are quite wet and swampy, so some good shoes might be advisable. Or in some cases, as the sign says in the last photo, bring your boots! ("Stövlar nödvändiga" / "Boots needed!").
As this is a popular recreation area, there are quite a few picnic tables placed on strategic places in the park. So a good idea might be to take a picnic basket with you and enjoy lunch in these beautiful surroundings.
The deep and dark forest of Tiveden was for long a time a forest you would keep away from, due to pirates, thieves, trolls and other dangerous creatures. In the old days this was described as the border to the wild and unreliably people of the north.... and when you walk around in Tiveden, these thoughts are easy to understand. This park makes your imagination come alive.
The quickly changing landscape, from dark green valleys with big boulders covered with moss, fallen over trees, moist in the air, to the higher elevations, where the sun light tries to be break through the trees. And all off a sudden you will be in an open spot in the forest, where the sun is shining brightly on the grey rocky surface, and the views over the surrounding area are wide and stunning. Imagine staring out over a blue lake, which mirrors its surroundings perfectly, as the water is so still or admiring a waterlilly showing off its beauty for everyone who wants to see, Tiveden has it all!
For me, Tiveden is one of the most beautiful national parks in the southern part of Sweden, and it has gotten a special little place in my heart. I know I will visit again some day; the only question is when :-) When you are in this part of Sweden and you love nature, don't forget to spend at least one day in Tiveden National Park and do one of the hikes. I am sure you won't regret it.
you can read more about this destination on my Olshammar page
In the previous tips you could see an overview of the places I've visited in this part of Sweden so far, but there is much more to do here. So here are some places that I have left on my wish list and which might be some ideas for you to visit:
* Varberg: Medieval town with a nice beach and tourist area Getterön.
* Koster Islands: Swedish most westerly islands with unusual nature.
* The city of Göteborg / Gothenburg
* The National Parks of Tresticklan and Djurö
* Dalslands Channel
Västergötlands Museum mainly houses a fascinating exhibition dealing with the history of Skara and the surrounding area between the 8th and the 14th century. The focus is on Skara’s period of greatness when the town was a centre of power during the medieval formation of the Svea Kingdom. The exhibition’s principal aim is illustrating the life’s of bishops and kings and also the ordinary people of the Middle Ages. You will, for example, find a reconstructed medieval village which can be explored by walking right through the houses and alleys. A special section of the museum deals with the disastrous consequences of the Black Death besetting the area in 14th century. At Västergötlands Museum you can also admire runic inscriptions, Sweden’s oldest piece of furniture (a bishop’s chair), Sweden’s oldest book, ecclesiastical art and much more. The museum’s biggest treasure, however, is one of Sweden’s most important prehistoric findings: 16 unique Bronze shields which are more than 3000 years old and, some of them, in a remarkably good condition. The shields have originally been lowered into the waters of Vänerviken and historians are still puzzling over the reasons for this. They might have been a sacrifice or maybe they were hidden from enemies.
In addition to the main exhibitions, a number of temporary exhibits and lectures on various themes are held in the musuem.
Definitely worth a visit!
Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 5 pm
Saturday-Sunday 12 am - 5 pm
May-October also Mondays 10 am- 5 pm
Adult 40 SEK.
Students/ children under 20 years, free.
Groups over 10 persons 25 SEK/person
Guided tour: 550 SEK
Just North/ East of Husaby church lies St. Sigfrid's spring, the probable site of Olof Skötkonung's baptism by the English missionary Sigfrid (see Husaby Church tip for more info). For this reason it became a very well known historic site of this area.
First you walk down an ancient, mossy staircase (mind your step!) and then you'll reach a little paved square. The spring is covered by a wooden flap with a cross-shaped opening. Next to the well there's an old table made of stone. It's not very sensational, to be honest. But it's a lovely, quiet place surrounded by huge trees and wild flowers (in Summer, of course).
The village of Forshem is proud to have a unique medieval church with its own place in Swedish history. The oldest part of the nave dates back to the 11th century. But its greatest claim to fame lies in its 6 stone reliefs.
Christianity, and the new society it created, brought the skill of building in a new material, namely stone. Stone churches were built around Kinnekulle and the area became a landscape of open quarries. Church builders from all over Skara plain came to fetch sandstone and limestone for their edifices. The fabulous stone reliefs they created can still be admired at the outer walls of Forshem church. 3 of the Forshem reliefs show the Passion story and 1 is thought to contain a self portrait of the master stonemason.
2 of the reliefs can be seen at the photos I've added.
Picture 1 shows the consecration of the church. The inscription is: ISTA ECCLESIA SIT: IN HONORE D(OMI)NI: N(OST)RI IH(ES)U: XPI (=CHRISTI) ET S(AN)C(TI) SEPULCRI ("May this church be consecrated in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Grave"). Christ is surrounded by two of his disciples: St. Peter and St. Paul.
Picture 2 shows the saints. St. Martin of Tours (right); shows the legend of Martin becoming a follower. A symbol for mercy and charity. St. Claus of Myra (left); the protector of seamen and trade. (Note the little ship at the top).
The church is open:
January - March daily 8:00am - 04:00pm
April- December daily 8:00am - 08:00pm
Lake Vänern is home to 35 different species of fish which means that practically every clearwater fish can be found in the lake. Here you will also find the largest number of fish in any lake in Sweden. Most common fish are smelt and vendace. But also the fishing for salmon, and salmon trout in particular, have became extraordinarily popular.
Fishing has always been extensive at Vänern and still today some 100 professional fishermen earn their living from the waters of the lake.
General rules and regulations for the fishing in lake Vänern:
The sports fishing is free throughout the entire lake, both from the shore or from boats (trolling, angling, jigging , spinning or fly-fishing). Trolling fishing is restricted to public waters only. Public water is usually found 300 m off the shore . The 300-metre rule is also applicable to islands with a length size of 100 metres or more. No more than ten baits can be used simultaneously when fishing from a boat. A maximum of three salmon or salmon trout per person and day can be taken ashore when you go sports fishing. The following minimum measurements have been stipulated by law: Salmon 60 cm, salmon trout 60 cm, pike-perch 45 cm, crayfish 10cm and eel 55 cm.
The Barken Viking is said to be the largest sailing ship ever built in Scandinavia and one of only...more
Stayed one night in the Quality resort and spa just outside the centre of Strømstad. ...more
Stroemstadsvaegen 24, Uddevalla, 45150, Sweden
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples