An engineering student from Saudi Arabia presents Borås, a town of around 65,000 "well-dressed" residents and one enormous Pinocchio, for this week’s My Sweden.
Amer Khamis describes himself as a photographer, an environmentalist, and big fan of Swedish cars. He studies engineering at the University of Borås, and has lived in the student town for six months.
While he admits that many residents might suggest the best thing about the Borås is the bus number 100 to Gothenburg, Khamis explains that there is a lot more to the town than meets the eye.
"Boras is essentially just a small university town, but it can boast that it’s the home of a few cool things," he tells The Local.
Sweden's reigning football champions – IF Elfsborg – come from Borås, and the country’s biggest research institute is there too.
But that’s not all, Khamis explains, as there's a famous landmark in Borås that well and truly blows the rest away.
"Borås has a bronze statue of Pinocchio that’s nine metres tall. Even King Carl XVI Gustaf was on hand at the launch in 2008," he says.
While the statue itself may take a while to grow on potential visitors, it has become something of a symbol for the town, erected by American artist Jim Dine in the middle of a roundabout at the entrance of the town.
The sculpture is entitled Walking to Borås, and is a "metaphor for art" according to the artist.
But the town is not just homages to Italian puppets with long noses. It's also known for its huge textile trade and textile schools. It's even known affectionately as "Textile Town" (Textilstaden) around the country.
Thanks to this focus on fashion, Khamis says the typical resident is generally well-dressed and rather stylish.
When it comes to a visit, tourists would have to include a trip to the Textile Museum, the Borås Zoo (which is renowned for its lion breeding programme), and a coffee at da Matteo, Khamis says.
But a word of warning for tourists – the town is much more suited to summer travellers.
"The best time to visit would be in early summer, actually. There aren't many students around, but the municipality arranges weekly concerts in the main square to make the city come alive," he explains.
"They even replace the flowers with different colours every two weeks so it’s even more vibrant than usual."
So in summary?
"Borås is a lovely student city," Khamis tells The Local.
"But only if you’re a student."
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