The traces of the vikings...
The special atmosphere in Ribe stem from the long and dramatic history of
the city. In spite of the city’s intact facade it is difficult to imagine Ribe, life
in town and people through thousands of years.
The Museum Ribes Vikinger shows history in the best possible way.
From year 700 till year 1700 Ribe was Denmark’s harbour to the west.
Numerous archaeological excavations and finds demonstrate how the town
has evolved through times. Visit the museum Ribes Vikinger and discover
the archaeological treasures of Ribe.
Thousands of visitors come to Ribe the first weekend in May, when
Ribe VikingeCenter hold the largest Viking market in Denmark, if
indeed not the largest in northern Europe. About 300 spare time vikings
from all corners of the world go on an expedition to Ribe, where a couple
of wonderful viking days awaits them. Honouring the life of our ancestors
they are all dressed like back then in plain and pretty costumes with
beautiful jewellery and colours showing their rank.
The atmosphere at the viking market is intense and authentic. Plain musical
tones and song is drowned out by the workshops where work is done in the
traditional way. The smoke and the fragrance of food being prepared over the
fireplaces find the way in between the tents where people are busy trading.
All of a sudden you hear the sound of galloping horses and roars from the
battlefield. And will you believe it, the bravest among the vikings are
challenging each other with sword and shield! Don’t miss out on this and
much more in Ribe.
The market place in the time around year 700
“… he could smell and hear the market place, before he could see it.
The smoke from the blacksmith’s hearths, the stench from the livestock and the smell of spit-roasted meat mix with the sound of creaking carriage wheels, shrill instruments, rhythmic hammer strokes and excited chatter in many different languages …”.
The first chapter in the story of Ribe in the Viking Age is about a market place in the years from 700 to 800. Here the craftsmen made various products and traders from near and far exchanged their goods. Ribe was a trading link between Europe and Denmark and perhaps even with big parts of Scandinavia.
Ribe and the other cities in the trading network around the North Sea had one thing in common: they used coins as payment. And in Ribe they minted their own coins, of course:
The Ribe coin kept foreign coins out of circulation, because the King controlled the usage of coins and demanded that the traders south of Denmark exchanged their currency into Ribe coins.
The course of a year leaves its mark on the market place. In the seasons for markets hundreds of people needed housing and food, but during winter it was very quiet. Producing goods was the most important. It was the reason for city’s existence. In the residential area between the market place at the river and the burial sites a more ordinary life took place. They were farmers, had cattle, pigs, sheep and goats and the city were in periods self-sufficient.