Did you know that Sweden has its own version of Stonehenge? Neither did I until shortly before I visited this mysterious Megalithic monument called Ales Stenar (which translates to Ale’s Stones) in Kåseberga, Sweden.
After spending a few days in Stockholm last July, my husband, toddler and I drove six hours south to Skane to stay with our Swedish friend, Elisabeth, and her family. Originally from Lund, Elisabeth has been going to her summer cottage in Skane since she was a child. She was excellent tour guide, and on our first day of sightseeing we went to the charming fishing village of Kivik and then onto Glimmingehus. For our second day, Elisabeth told us we were going to Ales Stenar, a historic site that’s like Stonehenge. I was instantly intrigued. I’ve never been to Stonehenge, but I’ve always wanted to go. A Swedish Stonehenge sounded pretty good to me. After an amazing lunch at Olof Viktors in Glemminge and then we were off to Ales Stenar.
To get to Ales Stenar, you have walk uphill for about 10 minutes. Like much of Skane and Osterlen, this is lush farmland and there are even cows around (fenced in, not running loose). Turns out you’re actually walking up a cliff… Yes, when you get to Ales Stenar, you realize that it’s a large open field, not too far from the edge of a cliff! Stunning views though.
Ales Stenar is comprised of 59 boulders, varying in size of about three to eight feet tall. And some of them weight up to 4,000 pounds! The stones are arranged in a 200-foot oval, which is said to be in the shape of ship. Local legend has it that King Ale lies beneath the stones, hence the name of Ale’s Stones or Ales Stenar. And something has amazing happened since our visit in July 2012 that gives that myth some credence: a 5,500-year-old tomb was discovered beneath Ales Stenar. But even that has brought up plenty of unanswered questions, and no one knows how long after the tomb the stones were placed there. Stone Age? Iron Age? Bronze Age?
The whole place has such a mysterious vibe, as so little is known about it. You just kind of find yourself walking around it again and again. And then you’re walking through it… And then you’re walking to the edge of the cliffs to admire the view. And you’re back to the stones to admire the grain. It’s hard to feel connected to the past here because so little is known. One thing is for sure: it has stood the test of time.