It is late in May, a hot and clear morning. The world is shimmering around us, the massive green colors of the trees, and the special smell of a nature turning to life, pollen in the air. Life.
Hedrén, Lundgren and I are heading for the ruins of the southern part of the Kronoberg Region – around the lake Åsnen and the villages Ryd, Tingsryd, Urshult and Rävemåla. The area is well-known for the apple farms, the climate varying from the rest of the area, and Åsnen, partly a national park built up of small bays and islands.
We visit three old, abandoned churches – Älmeboda, Torpa and Kalvsvik. Älmeboda is the most beautiful, but the history of the poor Torpa church is perhaps more interesting.
The locals had limited interest in the church, many of them chose other churches in the neighborhood for weddings, funerals and services. This obstinate attitude led to an even more complicated relationship between the community and the priests, and the church had to shut down in 1784.
Since the southern area of Region Kronoberg is located close to the former Danish border, ruins of castles, fortifications and barbicans are quite common. You can find Hönshylte Castle, probably a property of the Bishop in Växjö in medieval times, close to Ryd.
In medieval times, it was common to build castles on islands in strategic sounds, a way to monitor the transports. This was the case for the Kungsholmen castle (northwest from Urshult) and the Bosholmen casle (close to Vemboö), both in the lake Åsnen. In order to investigate these ruins you have to take a swim.
The trip consisted of two industrial ruins – the Stenfors ironworks and Master Påvel’s glassworks and mill. Stenfors is a beautiful ruin, close to Tingsryd, highly elaborated compared to most ruins in the region.
Master Påvel’s glassworks and mill is the opposite. You find it far out in the outback, the closest village is Ryd, and it is not much left of the industry – a few stone piles and a foundation wall. The glasswork was used during not more than three years, between 1628 and 1631.
It was run by a German or Dutch glassblower, the skilled Master Påvel, and the production was of high class. He started up some more works in the area before he left for Dagö. Estonia.