The land of legends
When walking in dense forests you can imagine trolls hiding behind the rocks... There are so many fairytales in Småland and you can really find magical places where invisible beings live in the limelight. Step into the Land of Legends.
This magical landscape in Sweden is home to countless hidden tales just waiting to be discovered. It was here in south-western Småland where many of Sweden’s traditional oral stories were first written down. Storytellers and collectors flocked to the area so there are many legendary places nearby. In November 2018, the Land of Legends was placed on UNESCO’s Register of Good Safeguarding Practices for its work protecting the cultural history of oral storytelling. The Land of Legends is made up of the Storytelling Museum and its unique shop and gallery, as well as the Legendary Places, Storytelling Festival and Storytelling Education.
A trip to the Land of Legends is a journey to a land where everything exists – from goblins, to forgotten sights, to unbelievable natural beauty, to a way to learn about people and their lives in earlier times. Drink cold water straight from a stream! Explore Troll Mountain! Enjoy the views from Blood Mountain! Try to get up onto Karin’s Stone! Today, there are 60 legendary places to visit. At of 40 them, you will find details about a legendary event hidden in a cabinet. The story is written in Swedish, English and German. 20 of them are also geocache locations to find, so you can do a treasure hunt using your GPS. Naturally, the treasures you’ll find are stories.
The King's cairn
Meg Nömgård is the director of the Land of Legends. She’s a talented storyteller who is happy to take time to talk about the legend of Småland’s brave women and about one of the Legendary Places with a bloody history.
The legend of Blända who defeated the Danes at Bråvalla. They cunningly plied the soldiers with a banquet and plenty of drinks, before sneaking out with knives in hand once the soldiers fell asleep… the rest is history. The Danish King is said to be buried in the large cairn beside Lake Dansjön. Hence the name ’the King’s Cairn’.
As a reward for their courage, the women received a generous inheritance equal to that of the men. A traditional dress now typical of the region Värend is said to have come from this victory. The special garment is adorned with silver and the kings monogram – it’s the only one in Sweden that features the royal mark. Today, it’s worn by women from Småland for example during Midsummer celebrations, weddings and other remarkable occasions.
Find the Legendary Places
The Legendary Places app contains 42 stories about the mystical sites, plus clues that lead you to them. It includes places that are historically significant and stories from recent times. For instance, in 2020, the app will guide you to the memorial stone for deceased Metallica guitarist, Cliff Burton. You can listen to storytellers in English, German or Swedish on Apple or Android devices. Search for Sagobygden. There is also a map that helps you find the Legendary Places.
The Museum of Legends in Ljungby
The Museum of Legends is the heart of the Land of Legends. Learning about the ancient tradition of oral storytelling is entertaining and informative for both kids and adults. You can adventure through the museum yourself, but it’s always best to take a guide. You’ll learn so much about Småland’s mystic past, the good and the bad. The Museum of Legends stays open for longer hours during many school breaks, with additional special tours and family story events being run. During summer (June-August), the Museum of Legends is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 12pm – 4pm. During this time, tours are offered in German, English and Danish.
Ljungby berättarfestival - the Storytelling festival
The inaugural Ljungby Storytelling Festival was held in 1990. Each year since, for a few days before midsummer, about 50 storytellers and researchers from around the world gather to tell their best tales. The Storytelling Festival features more than 70 performances, courses, lectures, walking tours and excursions. You can hear tales narrated by local storytellers and from the brightest international stars in the world of storytelling. They weave tales that are funny and tragic, breathtaking and thrilling. You can listen to new fables and old legends. There's a lot to choose from for young and old alike. The event is the longest-running annual Storytelling Festival in the Nordics. Remember 11-14 June 2020.
Recognised by UNESCO
In 2018, the Land of Legends was adopted into the UNESCO Register for Good Safeguarding Practices – a register designed to protect the world’s intangible cultural heritage. It’s the first nomination of its type in Sweden and just the 20th adoption into this Register globally. Småland’s storytelling now sits alongside iconic traditions like boat building in Norway, fabric making in Uzbekistan and Fandango from Bra