Blogposts,  destinations,  Sweden

Where vintage cars go to die

Deep in the forests of Småland in the south of Sweden, lies a magical place, littered with the remains of gutted and rusty old vehicles. In what is affectionally referred to as a car “cemetery”, the cars, tractors, bicycles and buses lie here, in waiting for the eternal rest – whatever that entails for rusty metal. When you first arrive at Kyrkö Mosse and walk down a narrow, winding trail that leads you right to the heart of a charming fir woodland, its almost unbelievable what you actually see. The sides of the path is lined with vintage cars sadly shrunken into the ground, some on their sides, and its evident they have been here for a long time. Moss and tree branches line the roofs and meander along the hull sides and into the gaping holes that were once windows and light fixtures. As you go further in to the woodland area, you become increasingly aware of the feeling that you are trespassing, and walking into somebody’s private back yard. Although this area is now a site open to the public, rather than private property, it is such a strange feeling to walk amongst these beautiful old cars that once would have driven down the nearby roads.

The path leading to the car cemetery | Canon 5d mk II, 24mm, f4.5, 1/100 sec

So what´s the story behind this strange place?

The area was previously used as a peat bog in the 1930´s, which later became a junkyard as well. The peat could be used as fuel and insulation. The junkyard was abandoned during the 1990´s, and the cars were left to rust and for mother nature to claim back her land. Although most of the vehicles have had their motors, oil and batteries removed, they still hold some petroleum-products which slowly seep into the ground, as do some of the cars too. During these environmentally aware times, this place is definitely a complicated landmark on several points. But, a landmark it is, and a well known and popular tourist destination during the summer months. There have been plenty of discussions regarding the pollution aspect of the junkyard, but as a heritage site depicting a more unknown part of the resent industrial/agricultural past, it is indisputably popular, and thus remains open. The last building permit was given during the 1990´s, less than ten years before the man who spent most of his life on the bog, passed away.

Old tractor and delapitated barn | Canon 5d mk II, 67mm, f6.3, 1/13 sec

On the grounds you can also find an abandoned cottage workshop and the old peat processing factory, as well as a barn that is definitely on its last leg, complete with tractors and various other farming equipment. A ragged old denim jacket filled with holes, still hangs on a nail by the workshop door, and it´s easy to imagine it being used for many years, while the cars that arrived at the junkyard were worked on, and picked apart.

Abandoned cottage and the remains of the peat factory | Canon 5d mkII, 60mm, f4, 1/80 sec & Canon 5d mkII, 35 mm, f6.3, 1/30 sec
A denim jacket on the door and detail of weathered wood planks | Canon 5d mk II, 32 mm, f4.5, 1/60 sec & 67mm, f4.5, 1/40 sec

Photographing here

The eminent danger of injury from a sharp piece of metal aside, it was easy to get lost in this very mystical and strange place. It is really well suited to photography, especially if you´re into vintage cars, details of rusty metal and mossy fir woodlands. The gutted cars also offer a unique view of the construction of them, as its possible to see right through most of them. It´s easy to see how this area would be perfect as a set for a murder mystery film. It is well worth a visit, but remember to leave everything as you found it – so the next visitor can enjoy this odd place just like you. And be aware – a visit to the cemetery raises more questions than you could hope to answer. But this is only part of the charm!

Canon 5d mkII, 24mm, f4.5, 1/60 sec
The surrounding woodland area | Canon 5d mkII, 92mm, f6.3, 1/80 sec
A rusty old bicycle | Canon 5d mkII, 50mm, f4.5, 1/60 sec
Canon 5d mkII, 58mm, f4.5, 1/60 sec

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