Skovde Tourist Attractions
The town of Skövde lies between Lakes Vänern and Vättern, on the eastern edge of the Billingen Hills. This is an area of great historical importance, since it is believed that Sweden had its origins in Skaraborg (now a county within the province of Västergötland). Skövde is thus one of the oldest settlements in the country. Material recovered by excavations, including a hoard of gold which is now in the Historical Museum in Stockholm, is dated to between A.D. 400 and 500. The church at Forsby, to the east of Skövde, is thought to be Sweden's oldest church (consecrated 1135).Skövde, a garrison town since the 19th century and the base of armored forces, is now an expanding industrial town, using minerals from the Billingen Hills, it is also the cultural and educational center of the area. Its largest firm, Volvo Komponenter, manufactures car engines and other components. There are also cement factories.
With a single exception (Peter Helen's little house in Kyrkogatan, now used for exhibitions) the buildings of Skövde all date from after a great fire which wrought havoc in 1759. The Art Gallery and Theater in the Oden House of Culture (a building of architectural interest) offer a varied cultural program. The old 18th century Town Hall is now occupied by the Municipal Museum. St Helen's Church (13th C.; altered 1888), in the main square, was formerly a popular place of pilgrimage where a local St Helen was venerated.
The Billingen Hills, to the west of Skövde, are a plateau 23km/14mi long by 11km/7mi across - the largest in Västergötland - reaching 299m/981ft at its highest point. This is an area of varied landscape, with expanses of bog, lakes, coniferous forests and pastureland (rare flowers, including orchids and lilies), traversed by an attractive waymarked trail 29km/18mi long.There are excellent facilities for both summer and winter sports. The mineral resources of the hills have long provided raw materials for the industries of the surrounding area.
Road 46 runs south from Skövde through a region rich in prehistoric sites. Half way between Skövde and Falköping is the oldest Cistercian nunnery in Sweden, probably founded in 1161 by King Karl Sverkersson. Falköping (pop. 32,000) is one of the highest towns in Sweden (alt. 220m/722ft). Its 18th and 19th century streets, with a sprinkling of modern architecture, have preserved their charm. An unusual feature of the town's layout is that the streets curve round to avoid a passage grave. St Olof's Church (12th C.) is one of the many churches in the area, which is reckoned to have one of the largest numbers of churches in any Swedish commune. In the Municipal Park are an impressive passage grave and a museum.
A few kilometers south of Falköping, near Åsarp, is the Stone Age village known as Ekehagens Fornby. To the east of Falköping, at Skörstorp, is a picturesque little church, the only round church in the area.
To the east of Falköping, on the river Tida, is Tidaholm, home to what was once the largest Vulcan match factory in the world. On Vulcan Island is a museum concerned not only with matches but with veteran and vintage cars. On Turbine-House Island is a turbine-house built in 1898 to drive a metal-turning lathe, now an art gallery. On the island there are also three old forges (18th C.).The center of Tidaholm features a hologram exhibition and the Lithographic Art Workshop, housed in the old match factory.