Motala is a locality and the seat of Motala Municipality, Östergötland County, Sweden with 29,823 inhabitants (41,956 in the entire municipality) in 2010.It is the third largest city of Östergötland, following Linköping and Norrköping. Motala is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Vättern and is regarded as the main centre of both the Göta Canal and the surrounding lake region. Motala Church dates from the 13th century. For several centuries, Motala remained a small village, mainly regarded as a stopping post on the road to the nearby town of Vadstena, one of cultural centres of medieval Sweden. However, King Gustav Vasa had a manor house built at Motala and later Queen Kristina had a summer residence built at the spa resort of Medevi, 20 km north of the town. When the Göta Canal was built in the early 19th century, Motala became an important town for the trade on the canal. The builder of the canal, Baltzar von Platen has his grave beside it. The town received the minor privilege status of köping in 1823, while full city rights were granted as of April 1, 1881. With the Swedish municipal reform of 1971, Motala became the seat of Motala Municipality. Motala Verkstad is an engineering company, world famous for its bridge and railway construction equipment. In the science fiction novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, the prow of the submarine Nautilus was built at Motala Verkstad. Later major Swedish industrial manufacturers such as Electrolux and Luxor had their main factories built in the city.
A district in the north east of the city, the Station had a post office attached to the Engine workshop (verkstad).