City walk in Hjo
Hjo is a small-town idyll of wooden houses from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. When strolling along the lanes, you’ll experience both beautiful buildings and lush gardens. Not to mention the many verandas with gingerbread work and delicate mullioned windows.
For obvious reasons, water is of major importance to Hjo. A ride on the steamboat S/S Trafik, a swim in Vättern or a day at Guldkroksbadet’s baths will make your visit even more special.
North of the harbour is Hjo’s tranquil town park. It was laid out in the 1870s as part of what was then Hjo’s water sanatorium. Proud reminders of the sanatorium’s past line the park in the form of wooden villas with verandas overlooking the water.
The northern and western parts of the medieval town Hjo were bordered by Hjoån. It wasn’t until towards the end of the 19th century that extensive construction was undertaken north of the stream.
East of the church
The lots closest to Lake Vättern are very old (this is the district now known as Långan), and have been more or less preserved as they were in the 1696, when the town’s oldest known map was drawn. Moreover, they probably looked this way in the Middle Ages.
A glimpse of what a house in Långan looked like can be gleaned from an insurance application dated 14 March 1840:
A dwelling-house of pine with own walls on four sides, in good shape, 29 ells long, 16 ells wide and 18 ells in height from gables to ceiling to ground. Two storeys and an attic. Brick-clad, two chimneys, water drains and cornice of wood. The first storey comprises four furnished rooms, one kitchen and a vestibule. The second storey has five furnished rooms, a kitchen and a landing. Wooden stairs. Intermediate ceiling of boards. Floors of plank.”
The fire insurance is concluded thus: “Necessary fire-fighting equipment at hand.”
West of the church
For centuries Hjo was connected to the surrounding world via two bridges over Hjoån.
One was Norrbro, and the other linked the town to the estates located on Wekängen and Weka Gärden to the west. This second bridge was reached via the small lane called Västergränd. Some of the names of the town quarters are reminiscent of the craftsmen that used to have their businesses here – Kopparslagaren (the coppersmith), Krukmakaren (the potter) and Bryggaren (the brewer).
Hjoån, which today divides the town in two parts, used to be the north border. Here, Norreport customs house was built in 1671 where tradesmen, craftsmen and farmers paid a fee to bring their goods into town. Countryside trading was against the law and
Långan was where the well-to-do trading and crafts properties were located. Imposing entrances broad enough for a horse and carriage to pass through line the streets, and in the yards, long wooden buildings extend down to the lake. All Långan lots are