The Sässman district and the village of Knåda lie between two lakes: Ullungen and Vägnan. The Voxna river meanders gently through a network of lakes, wetlands and leafy groves which flood in the spring when the snow melts. Typical ancient farming country, with its fields, pastures and cowsheds, stretches away on both sides. The farms nestle against the edge of the wood, well-protected from the river’s floods. The exceptions are Näs farm, which cuts a solitary figure in the middle of its pastures, and Hoppet farm, south of the river. These farmers built embankments to try to protect the farms from the annual floods.


Farm in Knåda
The farms in Knåda nestle against the edge of the woods to the north
Photograph: Lars Lööv

The interplay between nature and culture has helped get this area classified as one of national interest. A total of 150 species of bird have been found here, and author Hans Lidman has called the area ‘the singing valley’. The old main road, which runs parallel to the south bank of the river, was renowned as one of Sweden’s most beautiful roads as early as the mid-19th century.

South of Knåda is Roprabäcken, which has been a river crossing for southbound travellers since time immemorial. Thanks to its location, Knåda was an early trading point, one to which farmers came from near and far and where one of Sweden’s most famous marketplaces was established.


Knåda market

In the past, the markets were places where farmers sold the surplus from their farms and bought what they could not produce themselves. Knåda has been famous for centuries for its annual market. People congregated at Hans and Olpas farms for a few days on and around 20 January to buy, barter and socialise. Knåda market was a stopping point on the regular winter trips made by the people of Hälsingland, Jämtland and other northern provinces to the towns of Falun, Kopparberget and Hedemora in Dalarna.


The marketplace in Knåda   The Jämtlanders arrive at Knåda market

The marketplace                                                                           The Jämtlanders arrive at Knåda market
Paintings: Olof Nilsson


The Falun street Hälsingegårdsvägen (Hälsingland farm road) bears witness to these trading links. The markets were not only important for the farmers’ economic situation; they were important for the rest of the population too. Maids and farmhands went to the market to strike up contacts and buy goods. The market became a source of income for the farms in Knåda: some farms provided overnight accommodation, others opened an inn or leased premises for magic shows and acrobatics. And in the middle of it all was the market street and market square.


Bodgatan in Knåda   Olpas farm
The old market street in Knåda as it is today                 Olpas farm, where the market was once held
Photographs: Lars Lööv


By 1843, Knåda market had become so important that it was noted in calendars as a national trading market. This resulted in further expansion of the market, which reached its peak in 1850–1867, at the same time as a new age was dawning and Edsbyn was establishing itself as a new trading centre in the area. The old market street in Knåda is now called Bodgatan, and is still a commercial street.


Text Ingalill Tengvall


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