Aspa is a small settlement of around 120 inhabitants in the midst of runestones in the historical province of Södermanland in eastern Sweden. The area is today a part of Nyköping Municipality in Södermanland County, but the many runestones do tell of the area’s importance in the historical past.
A Short History of Aspa
Aspa was for a long time the meeting spot for Rönö Härad, one of the regional divisions known as hundreds in English that were used in Sweden in the past. This was the location of the Thing, the local council or assembly, and was known as Aspa Löt. It was in use up until the 17th century.
A route of quite some significance passed through the area during the Middle Ages. When a new Swedish king was elected at Mora Stenar in Uppland he went on a tour through the country. This tour was known as Eriksgata. In English, it’s “Erik’s Road”. The route through Södermanland took the new king and his companions past Aspa.
Things to Do and See
Aspa has its runestones and that is in itself a historically impressive sight. These runestones are also quite tall, resulting in them towering over almost any visitor. This is an area telling stories about the Vikings and their descendants during the Middle Ages.
There are several runestones along the main road through this small settlement. In total, there are four of them and their heights are impressive. The stones are known as Sö 137, Sö 138, Sö 141, and Sö Fv1948;289.
Sö 137 is 2.05 meters high and has inscriptions in two parts. One tells of Tora who raised the stone in memory of her husband Öbber. The other part tells the story of Öbber who traveled to the west with his armed men and his death there.
Sö 138 stands in a field and was found in 1864. Its story is not fully understood but it tells of the son of Öbber and Torun and the brother of Gylla. We do not know who the son was.
Sö 141 is another tall stone of around two meters in height. It tells of Slode and Ragnfrid who raised the stone in memory of their sun Igulbjörn.
The last runestone, Fv1948;289, was discovered in 1937 and like the others, it is about two meters high. It tells of Astrid who raised the stone in memory of her sons Anund and Ragnvald who died in Denmark. It is one of the first stones that mention the name Svitjod, a name that later would develop to become Sverige or Sweden.
Tingshögen is the location of the former Thing, the local assembly. It is a mound that is 30 meters across and has a height of up to 2.5 meters. The mound is today in the center of a field that is not really accessible. It is, however, possible to view it from the road.
How to Get to Aspa
- Flights: The closest airport is Stockholm Skavsta Airport (NYO) which is 29 kilometers to the southwest.
- Car: Aspa is along Road 223 between Björnlunda and Nyköping.
- Train: The nearest train stations are in Nyköping and Gnesta.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 98 kilometers (1 h 9 min)
- Gothenburg – 392 kilometers (4 h 16 min)
- Malmö – 536 kilometers (5 h 39 min)
- Linköping – 125 kilometers (1 h 23 min)
- Kiruna – 1329 kilometers (14 h 33 min)