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Kalmar City, the capital of the region with the same name, used to be one of Sweden's most important cities during medieval times. In the past, the location of Kalmar was strategically quite good because some parts of today's Sweden were then still under Danish rules (e.g. Halland), and Kalmar was ideally located to deal with those neighbors (in one or the other way). The city seal of Kalmar is one of the oldest city seals in Scandinavia and the first signs of the castle and cathedral can be dated back to the 12th century.
The region once used to be quite important in history because Kalmar was an important harbour. Today, Kalmar County is mainly known for the county's efforts with replacing normal fuel with bio fuel, and for being the home of Sweden's second largest island.
Kalmar is not much of a tourist destination, but it has quite a bit to offer for people who are interested in history and architecture. Kalmar City, for example, won the Europa Nostra prize twice (a prize for architecture). While you are in Kalmar County, have a look at the following places – or simply explore and let the county surprise you.
Kalmar City is definitely a place to visit because of its importance in Sweden's history. You should have a look at Kalmar castle which is originally from the 12th century, but has later been rebuilt in a renaissance style during the 16th century. Visit the castle and the local museum to learn more about the bloodbath of Kalmar, and about the darkest year in Kalmar's history (1611). But of course, there is a lot more to Kalmar's history than just the executing of majors, wars, feuds and arguments with the Danish neighbors – the museum will also tell you more about peaceful times, and there are art galleries that will show you the more beautiful sides of life in Kalmar.
Kalmar Cathedral is another place in Kalmar that usually is on the list of all visitors. The cathedral is not as old as the castle, as is was built some time during the mid-17h century (but only completely finished right at the start of the 18th century). The cathedral is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Sweden.
Öland is the second largest island in Sweden and connected to the mainland by the Öland bridge which was built in the 1970s. Öland is a nice day trip from Kalmar City, but there are also plenty of accommodation options on the island itself, and you can easily spend a few days on the island to explore the castle, the lake, visit the highest hill (not much of a hill though, as the island is rather flat, generally speaking), and have a look at the rather unique wildlife.
Emmaboda might not be the most exciting place, but it is the place in which the events of the books “The Emigrants” by Vilhelm Moberg takes place. The book is about how people from Sweden emigrated to North America, so it might be a rather interesting book and place for people who would like to learn more about how Sweden and North America are connected through emigrants. Emmaboda is also home to a rather nice music festival every year. You will usually see many Swedish acts perform during that festival, so it's a great opportunity to learn more about the musical part of Swedish life, and also get to know some local people. The festival usually takes place in July.