Sweden is a very old country, whose traditions evolved from the civilizations in the South and West of Sweden (nobody really knows anything about what was going on in the North before the 1900’s). These historic civilizations are what inspired Jan Guillou, one of Sweden’s most prominent and also arrogant writers, to write a bestselling trilogy about a medieval protagonist named Arn struggling with life in the dark ages, The Knight Templar.
The hugely popular book series turned into hugely popular movies and now virtually all of the more rural eastern part of West Sweden, where the trilogy takes place, flourish from the attention. Guided tours, film remakes and an unprecedented influx of tourist have turned heretofore sleepy small towns into summer hot spots. The peak came a couple of years ago when Götene, a West Sweden town that is near both the shooting location of the movies and Arn’s fictional heritage, bought the entire prop set from the movies and built a theme park around it.
Now of course, a Medieval theme park isn’t necessarily the hippest of things, but surrounded by the history and culture of the Swedish countryside that still recalls bygone eras, it comes much closer to bringing history to life than any other theme park. This August there is a festival, conveniently named Arnfestivalen, celebrating the old times with slow roasted spitted food, locally brewed mead and major artists, like Ulf Lundell! and Caroline af Ugglas playing on stage. It takes place from the 12-16 of August and will be a blast…from the past, especially for those of you who enjoy jousting, sword fighting and eating grilled wild boar.