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Ingatorp in the Småland Uplands

The village of Ingatorp lies on the sunny side of the valley at the foot of Valbacken Hill. Its sheltered position in the rugged Småland Uplands attracted early settlers and evidence of its long history is still visible in one of its main historic treasures, a medieval tithe barn, which is one of the two oldest wooden buildings in Sweden.

Ingatorp is located in northern Småland between Eksjö and Vimmerby. The village’s history extends back to 800 years when farmers from the Småland Uplands would gather in the valley carved out by the roaring Bruzaån River to attend church and pay their taxes – or “tithes” as they were known. Each farmer would store their tithes in the Tiondeboden, the ancient, rather plain-looking and windowless building situated by the lake next to the church.

One of the oldest wooden buildings in Sweden

Ingatorp’s tithe barn is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Sweden. There is only one other wooden building that can claim to be older than the Tiondeboden. A wood analysis proved that the trees used in the construction of the barn had been felled between 1219 and 1239.

Ingatorp medieval tithe barn. © Jönköpings Läns Museum
In addition, the way the trunks and beams have been carved is characteristic of the style used by Scandinavian carpenters in the early Middle Ages. The original floor planks and the roof truss are still in place inside the building and the wooden shingles that cover the entire structure are also very old. The oldest shingles have been protecting the outer surfaces of the barn since the 16th century. The historical significance of this rather plain-looking building in the corner of the cemetery by the lake only became known in 2011. You can find out more about the Tiondeboden tithe barn and the story of how its age was discovered at the Jönköpings Läns Museum in Jönköping. And if you are wondering what the oldest wooden building in Sweden could be... Well, it is actually Granhults Church near Lenhovda, a village in the south of Småland not too far from Ingatorp. This little church was built in 1217.

A beacon in the distance

The spire of Ingatorp Church is visible from miles around. This pretty building is situated right next to the plain-looking Tiondeboden and dates back to 1914. It was built in the Nordic Art Nouveau style after the church that stood there before had burned down completely.

Between Eksjö and Mariannelund

The village of Ingatorp is part of the Eksjö municipality and is the home of a few hundred people. Eksjö is famous for its historic town centre which boasts many well-preserved wooden buildings. The town has been recognised many times over for its conservation work. Eksjö lies 28 kilometres to the west of Ingatorp.

Ingatorp church
 If you drive east on road 40 from Ingatorp, you will arrive in Mariannelund. Lovers of Astrid Lindgren's stories will know that this melodic-sounding place name is associated with her series of novels Emil of Lönneberga. The films based on the books were shot around the village of Mariannelund. The interactive exhibition centre at Film Village Småland offers visitors the chance to enjoy a range of experiences based on the stories and film locations. And there are also many wonderful bike trails that will take you through the countryside where the films were made.

Ski slopes and viewing point

Ingatorp is known across the region for its ski slopes. The Valbacken ski resort offers four downhill runs. Valbacken Hill also provides a popular viewing point when there is no snow on the ground. From the summer café on the Valbacken, you can enjoy a wonderful view over Ingatorp and the forests of the Småland Uplands.

Film Village Småland

If you have ever read the Emil of Lönneberga books by Astrid Lindgren, you will have heard of Mariannelund. In fact, you might have even seen it in the film adaptations which were shot in Mariannelund and many locations in the surrounding area. You can discover more about the world of film at the Film Village Småland in Mariannelund, which includes a range of interactive exhibitions.

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Discover the magic of Eksjö, one of Sweden’s best-preserved wooden towns. The entire town is designated as a conservation area. Walk over cobblestone streets as you wander through the different quarters, perhaps stopping now and again to peek into a secluded old courtyard. You can also visit the town museum and learn more about life in Eksjö in years gone by.

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Valbacken Hill forms the immediate backdrop to the village of Ingatorp. The Valbacken Alpine Association (Valbacken Alpina Förening) operates the ski resort during the winter, which encompasses four different slopes. There is also a ski school at the resort. During the summer, it is well worth climbing to the “Toppstuga” for a great view of Ingatorp and the surrounding forests.

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More travel tips for Ingatorp and the surrounding area:

Attractions, places to stay, cafés and activities...