The South and the Kingdom of Glass


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Southern Sweden is considered, even by many Swedes, to be a world of its own, clearly distinguished from the rest of the country by its geography, culture, and history. Skåne (pronounced skoh-neh), is one of Sweden's smallest provinces; here you'll find beautifully fertile plains, sand beaches, thriving farms, bustling towns and villages, medieval churches, and summer resorts. These gently rolling hills, extensive forests, and fields are broken every few miles by the lovely castles, chronologically and architecturally diverse, that have given this part of Sweden the name Château Country.

The two other southern provinces, Blekinge and Halland, are also fertile and rolling and edged by seashores. Historically, these three provinces are distinct from the rest of Sweden: they were the last to be incorporated into the country, having been ruled by Denmark until 1658. They retain the influences of the Continental culture in their architecture, language, and cuisine, and many here view the rest of Sweden—especially Stockholm—with some disdain.

Småland, to the north, is larger than the other provinces, with a harsh countryside of stone and woods. The area has many small glassblowing firms, and it is these glassworks, such as the world-renowned Kosta Boda and Orrefors, that have given the area the nickname the Kingdom of Glass.

Since it covers a fairly large area of the country, this region is best explored by car. The coastal road is a pleasure to travel on, with scenic views of long, sandy beaches and the welcoming blue sea. Inland, the hills, fertile plains, and thickly wooded forests are interconnected by winding country roads. The southern peninsula around the province of Skåne has the most urban settlements and, thanks to the spectacular Øresund Bridge, fast connections to Denmark and mainland Europe.

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