A little bit of history

The days of blissful freedom are soon to be over and the most hectic period at work will start next week. Because of the Corona virus, it’s not been a typical vacation, as for most of us. I was hoping to get out hiking and camping but the weather has not been ideal with a lot of rain, winds and thunder. It has also made it hard to work on our cottage so we’ve been taking the car to places nearby and a few days ago we took a longer drive. I’ve been wanting to visit Varnhem Abbey church, Gudhem Abbey ruins and Kata Farm for years and it was just amazing. (No, I’m not religious but when it comes to Medieval history, churches are basically what we have left.)

One of the best things I know is walking around in old ruins and try to imagine what it used to look like, thinking of the people who lived there and what their life was like. In a way, I prefer it to the preserved buildings even though it’s impressive to be able to visit a thousand year old church or castle.

Since Varnhem Abbey church and ruins is a big tourist attraction today it was hard to get good photos from the inside. There were a lot of people and I wanted to keep a safe distance (even though some idiots just didn’t care). The church and was spectacular and I hope to go back when there aren’t as crowded.

Before Varnhem Abbey was built, one of the first Christian churches existed on a hill just above where the abbey church is situated today. It’s from around 900 AD and belonged to a large farm where a woman named Kata reigned. This was during the Viking age and she was buried by her husband, according to her rune. Kata Farm wasn’t discovered until 2005 and the archaeological dig took 12 years to complete. It is now a museum and you walk above the church, in an A-frame building on glass floors. Kata is still there, with her rune.

We visited a 5000-7000 year old grave field with standing stones, cairns, stone circles and a grave passage too but it was pouring down rain and stormed so I couldn’t take any pictures of my own. It is called Ekornavallen and I wish the weather would have been better when we were there because I could easily have spent hours just walking those grounds.

Lastly, when the rain had calmed a little, we went to Gudhem Abbey ruins and had the place completely to our selves. It’s been a sacred place since before Christianity and the name means “home of the gods”. The abbey burned down in 1529 and was never rebuilt.

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