That these houses still stand is due solely to two facts: no large outbreaks of fire have occurred in Ribe sind 1580, and the town lost its economic importance from the middle of the 17th century. There were no finances available nor need for building new houses on a grand scale.
Ribe oplevede sin storhedstid som handelscentrum indtil 1500-tallet, hvor Reformationen, tilsanding af åen, pest, bybrand, stormflod og krig uundgåeligt ændrede billedet.
In 1899, a tourist and conservation organisation was established, and in 1963, the town council issued a preservation order covering the entire core of the old town. Thus, Ribe is a well-preserved town with more than 100 houses subject to national preservation.
Today the society is called Gammelt Præg - Ribe Bybevaring, and its purpose is to restore and maintain the old buildings worthy of preservation they own, and to support the preservation of old houses and the surrounding environment in Ribe.
The society is behind the following three attractions
Everten Johanne Dan (A special type of flatbottomed sailing ship).
Stormflodssøjlen (The Flood column). Night Watchman's Round.