Scan Magazine, Issue 99, April 2017

Page 40

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  A Complete Guide to Danish Culture

Kings and Vikings in Roskilde Roskilde, situated just 30 kilometres from Copenhagen, is a city rich in history, with everyone from the Vikings to the current Danish monarch having had an influence on the city. A visit to Roskilde’s Viking Ship Museum and Roskilde Cathedral will make a thousand years of Danish history come to life in an engaging, exciting and exhilarating way. By Josefine Older Steffensen  |  Photos: Jan Friis

The Vikings are infamous for their fighting and pillaging, but most importantly their seafaring skills. Their longships allowed them to explore the world, including discovering Canada and invading the British Isles. The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde is a treasure trove of Vikings ships, where the Vikings’ relationship to the sea and their ships is still being explored.

An amazing find in Roskilde Fjord It had long been known amongst local fisherman that there were sunken Viking 40  |  Issue 99  |  April 2017

ships at the entrance to Roskilde Fjord. In 1962, these ships were excavated and brought back to the surface. “The five ships were incredibly exciting as they represented a wide range of uses. There’s everything from warships to merchant’s ships, so it was an incredible insight into Viking ships,” explains Rikke Johansen, the team leader for communication, marketing and sales at the Viking Ship Museum. Finding five ships in close vicinity to each other might seem like pure luck, but it is

believed that the Viking ships were deliberately put there around 1070 to help defend the city of Roskilde. “By blocking off the entrance to the fjord, they effectively stopped anyone from getting too near the city,” says Johansen. The Viking ships were preserved in the mud before they saw sunlight again in 1962.

The Viking Ship Museum The museum was built to accommodate and enhance the five original ships. Despite being nearly 1,000 years old, the ships are incredibly well preserved. Their original shape is shown by a metal frame, on which the original wood hangs to give a clear representation of what the ship would have looked like. “The ships are exhibited in such a way that they look like black silhouettes with the fjord acting as a vivid background,” says Johansen.

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