The Viking Ship Museum In Denmark

Viking, Viking ship, Denmark
The Vikings were the greatest sailors of their age. They built sturdy vessels that took them as far as Greenland and even North America. A few of these amazing craft have survived to the modern day.

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, has five such ships on display. Fifty years ago they were discovered at the bottom of Roskilde Fjord, where they had been deliberately sunk to create a defensive barrier in the 11th century A.D. Silt and cold temperatures kept them remarkably well preserved and archaeologists were able to restore and display them.

Walking through the main hall of the Viking Ship Museum, it’s easy to imagine you’re in a busy Viking port. The ships are of various types, such as the knarr, a broad ocean-going trading ship. These were the ships that the Vikings took on their long voyages of commerce and exploration. The famous longship was for battle only and didn’t do well on the high seas.

There’s a longship here too, a 98-foot-long beauty that was probably the warship of a chieftain. Tree-ring analysis of the timber shows it was built in or around Dublin about the year 1042. The Vikings settled in Ireland in 800 A.D. and founded several towns, Dublin being the most important.

%Gallery-174000%There’s also a smaller type of warship called a snekke. Shorter than the longship at only 57 feet, it was still a formidable vessel and remnants of the shield rack and carved decoration can be seen on the side.

The best-preserved boat is a byrding, coastal trading vessel built of Danish oak. There’s also a small boat that may have been used for fishing or whaling.

After examining the displays – very well done and with signs in English as well as Danish – walk outside to the museum harbor. Here you’ll find reconstructions of some of the ships you saw inside as well as historic vessels from later eras of Denmark’s seagoing history. At the boatyard, you can watch shipbuilders using traditional techniques. The star attraction is The Sea Stallion from Glendalough, a reconstruction of the museum’s longship. It’s seaworthy, and tests have shown it reaches an average speed of 2.5 knots and a top speed of 12 knots when under sail. There are even a few surprises, like kayaks from Greenland and Borneo.

Some ships are actually used and visitors can go on boat trips around the fjord.

If you’re heading north after your trip to Denmark, check out the excellent Viking ship museum in Oslo, Norway.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Gadlinks for Tuesday 8.4.09

Welcome to this Tuesday’s installment of Gadlinks. What weird, wondrous and wacky tales did we dig up from the travel world today? Read on to find out:

  • Like Rollercoasters? Maybe it’s time you booked a ticket to Shanghai, where China’s largest amusement park is set to open its gates next week. That looks like quite a wooden coaster! [Via Jaunted]
  • Looking to be inspired? This plan by two dozen homeless men in Poland to build and sail a ship around the world is an absolutely amazing story. [Via The NYT]
  • We shouldn’t forget that some of our country’s best beaches aren’t on the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans – they’re on the Great Lakes. How about this list of Seven Michigan Lake Towns to get you started? They forgot my favorite, South Haven. [Via Intelligent Traveler]
  • Sometimes, despite our best efforts to get “off the beaten trail” we end up in what is otherwise known as the dreaded tourist trap. Don’t fret, Esquire has a Five-Minute Guide to American Tourist Traps like the Grand Canyon, Disneyland and Yellowstone. The hordes of tourists are still there, but you’ll have the upper hand. [Via World Hum]

More Gadlinks HERE.