Our journey to Ales Stenar (Ale´s Stones) starts in the nearby village of Kåseberga. Long into the past, Kåseberga was a fisherman village, today, it is a charming port with restaurants, shops and art galleries settled in traditionally built small houses.
Leaving the village, we climb the Kåsehuvud hill, towards the SW part of the coast. It is not a long climb, and not even too steep, the path is well done. With us, a jolly bunch of people. It looks like they gathered from all over the world. It is the pupils from Ystad´s school for foreigners, on a collective trip to Ales Stenar.
Around us, we find sheep and cows, completely uninterested about our mission. At some point, we arrive at a crossroad. One path will take us to Ales Stenar, other leads to Kåseberga´s little port, which we decide to visit later.
A few minutes more, and we are on top of the hill, standing on the wide flat area covered with grass. From a distance we can see it, there it is, a big group of megalithic stones forming the shape of one large ship. Ales Stenar. The so-called Swedish Stonehenge.
The monument is about 67 meters (75 yards) long and 19 meters (21 yards) wide, orientated in a Southeast - Northwest direction. It consists of 59 megalithic stones, some higher than 3 meters, standing in proper positions to form the mystical shape of a big ship or eclipse.
Naturally, we are very curious. Who made this? And for what purpose? When was it built? And, for example, how? In what way were all of these stones, some of them as heavy as 200 tons, brought to the top of the hill, having to be transported from far away?
Legend says that the site was a burial place for Ale, the Viking king, but excavations never found anything like a tomb inside the monument. According to the Swedish National Heritage Board, the time of the creation is dated around 600 AC. To confirm this theory, carbon 14 analyses were used on some of the findings in the soil.
That would make Ales Stenar the oldest Viking monument ever, strangely dating some 200 years before the very beginning of the Viking age.
Other researchers claimed that Ales Stenar was created and used as a solar calendar. Twice a year, this theory seems to be true. On the midsummer night, many come to visit Ales Stenar and wait for the sun to come up. In any case, it is sure to us that more research should be done on this impressive and enigmatic ancient monument.
There is something fascinating when a visitor finally reaches the site of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga. It is not only about the mysterious monument but also all of the surroundings. The open hill looking at the open sea creates one of the finest landscapes. We do not know much about people who created this stone complex, but they surely found a perfect place for it.