A young Viking in Denmark. Photo credit: VisitDenmark.
The Vikings have long fascinated history lovers.
With the historical TV drama series Vikings, there is a new wave of interest in these legendary figures in Europe’s history. In fact, 2013 is the millennium of the Viking invasion of England by the Danish king Swein Forkbeard in 1013 and the crowning of his son Canute as King of England in 1016.
In this anniversary year, Denmark is holding a series of exhibitions and events across Denmark. The idea behind these events is to recreate authentic Viking life and culture.
Among these events will be VIKING, a major exhibition, running from June 22 – November 17, 2013 at Denmark’s National Museum in Copenhagen. The exhibition, which will transfer to the British Museum in London in spring 2014, will feature the world’s longest Viking ship wreck ever displayed.
This 37-metre long warship, which carried 100 Viking warriors, is thought to be part of a royal fleet. It shows that it was possible for Vikings to travel across continents to colonize Iceland and Greenland and America and bring back traded goods from the Middle East, the Byzantine Empire and China.
In the exhibition, there will also be other historical artifacts including gold and silver from Yorkshire, Russia and Norway and Viking warrior-shaped chess pieces from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.
For true Viking immersion, travelers can take Viking-themed tours of Denmark to historical landmarks with reconstructed villages, battle re-enactments and sail on a Viking longboat and ride on Viking ponies.
Here are some other Viking tour ideas which VisitDenmark suggests around the country:
About 30 minutes west of Copenhagen, Roskilde was the capital of Denmark during the Viking Age. If you head to Roskilde, you should make time to visit the Roskilde Cathedral where Viking kings and queens are buried. Then see the five, famous 11th century restored Viking ships from The Viking Ship Museum. Try dining on an authentic Viking meal at Restaurant Snekken which is known for its New Nordic Viking Cuisine.
Head 10km south west of Roskilde and you will find Lejre Museum which was the centre of power at the beginning of the Viking age. Set by the river Lejre, you will see two traditional thatched houses and a collection of finds from the Iron Age and the Viking Age.
There is an open air museum called ‘Sagnlandet Lejre’ (The Land of Legends), which began as an archaeology site and has grown to an Iron Age village; a Stone Age settlement; the Viking market town of ‘Ravnsborg’ and a 19th century farmstead.
On the garden isle of Funen, there are villages, beaches and The Viking Museum at Ladby. Called the only Viking ship grave in Denmark, it is said to mark the final resting place of a wealthy Viking chieftain. Today, the imprint of the ship where he was buried is visible in a burial mound near Kerteminde Fjord.
For more Viking tour ideas, go to Visit Denmark.
More modern-day Viking scenes around Denmark:
All photos courtesy of VisitDenmark.