Visit the home of the Viking kings in Denmark
By Kristine Nødgaard-Nielsen
Centred around two iconic runestones, the Home of the Viking Kings in the town of Jelling in Denmark offers children and adults the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Danish Vikings, experience the very beginning of Danish history, and explore the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A thousand years ago, the Danish Viking kings Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth wandered across the area where the Danish town of Jelling is situated. Today, two massive runestones, two burial mounds and a defensive wall represent some of the most important monuments of the Viking era in Denmark.
“If you want to see a place that marks the beginning of Denmark’s history, Home of the Viking Kings in Jelling is the place to go. The Vikings didn’t write many things down, but on the two runestones, we have brief texts from the Vikings,” says Morten Teilmann-Jørgensen, who is head of Home of the Viking Kings, an area that, besides the monuments, includes an experience centre.
The runestones were erected by Gorm the Old and his son, Harald Bluetooth. On the smaller stone is the first mention of the name Denmark; on the bigger is the announcement that Harold Bluetooth had converted the Danes from paganism to Christianity.
The two kings count Denmark’s current Queen Margrethe II among their successors, and their history can be explored in the adjacent experience centre, where interactive displays allow children and adults alike to learn about Vikings.
“This is a place where most things are allowed and where children can have fun and explore for several hours. You can walk to the top of the burial mounds, and at the experience centre you can touch almost everything,” Teilmann-Jørgensen says.
Free admission to monument area and experience centre. UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. Facebook: Kongernes Jelling
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