22 Fru Alstad - Trelleborg
Degree of difficulty
Surrounded by open fields, rows of willows, Bronze Age tumuli and cozy little villages, you are hiking on small roads across Söderslätt (”the southern plain”) between the church village of Fru Alstad and Trelleborg – the City of Palm Trees.
Fru Alstad is a picturesque village with its origins in the Early Middle Ages. Originally the site of a Romanesque church from the 12th century, it was expanded into a Gothic temple in the 15th century. The baptismal font is preserved from the 12th century whilst the rood and the arch paintings were added in conjunction with the expansion. The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which subsequently gave the village its name (”Fru” is Swedish for ”Wife/Lady”). During the Late Middle Ages, pilgrims arrived here which can be seen on the center pillar, which is still covered with carved pilgrim marks. In the meadow just outside the western churchyard wall, you will find a sacred spring which for hundreds of years was believed to be able to cure most ailments. North of the churchyard, there is now a rest area with water, a shelter and a grilling area.
From Fru Alstad you walk south along a gravel road with willow trees before you arrive in Västra Virestad, a cozy little village with densely situated farms. Further south you pass an old burial ground from the Bronze Age, which has been named Gyllhögarna. From the top of the 3-5 meter tall tumuli, you have a beautiful view of large parts of Söderslätt and its many church spires. On top of the mound just south of the road is a block of granite. In the block, there are two deep carvings reminiscent of footprints. The origin and age of the rock carvings has not been ascertained, but there are plenty of myths and legends regarding whose footsteps it may be.
In the outskirts of Trelleborg, you come across the village of Kyrkoköpinge with its characteristic Dutch mill built in 1873. It was initially operated by wind power until 1938 and then by electric motor until the operation ceased entirely in 1972. However, the mill is once again fully operational after an extensive renovation and was reopened by the governor in 1990. The church in the village is from the second half of the 12th century and has a baptismal font from this time. There are also medieval chalk paintings in the longhouse arches and the chancel. During the Gothic period, the church also received its characteristic stepped gables.
After Kyrkoköpinge, you will soon arrive in Trelleborg, the southernmost city of Sweden and one of the oldest in Scania. The city is named after a Viking-era ring fort (a "trelleborg") with a diameter of 140 meters. It was discovered in the late 1980s and was the first trelleborg to be found in Sweden. It was directly connected to the sea via a river and was crossed by four roads. The fortress probably dates from the 10th century as part of the Danish king Harald Blåtand's efforts to unite his realm. Since then, parts of the fortress have been reconstructed and now houses a museum that describes the story of the fortress and paints a picture of the lifestyle of the Viking inhabitants.
If you are interested in history, a visit to Trelleborgs Museum at Stortorget, the grand square of Trelleborg (just a few hundred meters from Skåneleden), can also be worth your time. Here you can find exhibitions describing the history of Trelleborg, from the early Stone Age settlements in Skateholm up until the industrialisation of the city in the 20th century. There are also several temporary exhibitions, often with elements of art and crafts.
If you are hiking during the summer, you might spot some palm trees along your way through Trelleborg. Palm trees have been in the city since 1984 when the first ones were imported from Alicante in Spain. Nowadays, over 100 palm trees adorn streets and squares during the summer. The largest palm trees are located on Strandgatan, a short walk from Trelleborg C, the final destination for this section. At Trelleborg C there are connections by train, bus, taxi and ferry. In Trelleborg, you have access to plenty of restaurants, hotels and hostels for those who wish to recover a bit before further travel.
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