Viking History in Roskilde

A really good friend mentioned Roskilde Viking Boat Museum while we discussed my plans for Copenhagen. It has the three magic words: history, archeology, excavation, that I hopped on that train out of Copenhagen the very next morning.  The trip took about 30-35 minutes. Of course, I roamed around to see more of Roskilde after visiting Vikingeskibsmuseet Roskilde (Viking Boat Museum).

Roskilde was the capital of Denmark since the Viking era.  Many generations of Danish Monarchs have resided here.  In modern times, they discovered five shipwrecks in the Isefjord.  The shipwrecks are about 1,000 years old. The oldest one is from year 1030. This led to the creation of Vikingeskibsmuseet Roskilde (Viking Boat Museum).  In this museum, the five shipwrecks were displayed in the main building. These five shipwrecks are Viking boats of different designs and uses from fishing, cargo carrier, whaler, etc.  The ships were intentionally sunk and put at their location as part of water defense system.

 

5 Viking shipwrecks discovered in Riskolde fjord.
5 Viking shipwrecks discovered in Riskolde fjord.

 

In the outside yard of the museum, one can visit the reproduction of Viking boats of different types.  I also went to the boat workshop, but at that time they were repairing a Nordic fishing boat and not a Viking boat.  In the summer, cruises on the Viking boats are possible.

 

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Boatmaking workshop in the Roskilde’s Viking Boat Museum. When I went there, they were repairing a Nordic fishing boat.

 

After the museum, I felt a need for some brisk exercise. If one continues along the water coastline, one can arrive at an area that used to be a fishing hamlet called St. Jørgensberg (up on a hill).  The cottages there are very charming with their thatched roofs and white or yellow walls.

 

A quick stroll in Roskilde along the waterfront led me to St. Jørgensberg fishing hamlet where I found these precious cottages.
A quick stroll in Roskilde along the waterfront led me to St. Jørgensberg fishing hamlet where I found these precious cottages.

 

A peek through a doorway, yielded a very pretty courtyard.

 

Charming courtyard of a traditional cottage in St. Jørgensberg fishing hamlet.
Charming courtyard of a traditional cottage in St. Jørgensberg fishing hamlet.

 

When one strolls through St. Jørgensberg, on the left, one can see the imposing Roskilde Cathedral over the rest of the populations. The centre of the town is near the Roskilde Cathedral, and it is worth the walk from St. Jørgensberg to the Cathedral for the amazing buildings one can pass. Roskilde Cathedral (or Roskilde Domkirke) has received the UNESCO Heritage designation.  It houses the remains of the who’s who in Danish monarchy.  A guidebook is included in the price of the entrance to the Cathedral.  Some of the crypts are pretty creepy, especially the day I went it was raining, gloomy and there was hardly anyone. It has been a while since I saw a church with so many amazing sarcophagi.

 

Side view of the Roskilde Cathedral. The who's who of Denmark are buried there. The Cathedral has been declared a UNESCO heritage.
Side view of the Roskilde Cathedral. The who’s who of Denmark are buried there. The Cathedral has been declared a UNESCO heritage.

The visit to Roskilde has been short, but on a nice, warm, sunny day,  there are many more amazing places to stroll around and enjoy. It was worth the trip from Copenhagen.

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