You say Denmark and immediately think about Mermaid and to the girlish suggestions of Tivoli parkto Copenhagen. On the other hand, almost nobody thinks of Roskilde and it is a mistake. Why is this small town just 35 km from the capitalwhich often only i rock fans they know and have heard of it, it is instead a sort of summary of the history and events of the land of the gods Vikings. And that’s why it should probably be at the top of the ideal list of places to see in Denmark. And the city of Mermaid do not be offended. Among other things, to get to find out what to see in Roskilde you shouldn’t even make too much effort: just half an hour from Copenhagen city center to get to the magical place of burial of kings, queens and knights and to be faced with one of the assets ofUnesco: Roskilde Cathedral.
What to see in Roskilde: the capital of the warriors of the north
But to understand its value and fully grasp what to see in Roskilde, you need to take a step back. More than a thousand years agothe Vikings founded this settlement as a trading base and from the years around the turn of the year 1000 Harold I of Denmarkthe Viking leader who united the country by bringing the Christian religion, chose it as capital of his kingdom.
A choice maintained over time as it remained the most important city until to 1417 when nearby Copenhagen stole the record. It was the beginning of the slow decline that continued during the Protestant reform even if there were moments of fame like in 1658 when the namesake was signed here. treaty which sanctioned the loss of land by the Denmark forced to give in to Sweden. This is the past: today with a population of only fifty thousand inhabitants it is only about ten cities in the country. Even if its role for the economy and the presence of one remains important university which brings a vibrant youth population. Which fills the evenings and the streets.
The same streets, as the pedestrian ones Skomakergade And Algade that we will travel to get to the cathedral. A heritage for the country and for humanity a stone’s throw from museums of Copenhagen.
What to see in Roskilde: the royal tombs
There Roskilde Cathedral contains the tombs of nearly forty Danish kings and queens as of Harold Bluetooth (died 985) and his son, Sweyn Forkbeard (died 1014), which went down in history as the “Conqueror of England“. Construction work ended in 1080 but the church, one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture of Northern Europe, then underwent heavy interventions over time with the construction of two towers and a monastery. The cathedral is still today one of Denmark’s great national monuments and towers over the center of the city.
Inside, consisting of a long nave and two side apses, you cannot fail to notice the presence of the royal tombs which occupy almost all of the space both under the floor and in tombs carved in stone and built in brick in the chapels of the apses. Among the burials, note those of Margarethe I (died 1412), who ruled over the three Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, And Sweden) to Frederik IX, who died in 1972 and initially buried in a chapel. In 1985, his coffin was moved to a purpose-built mausoleum outside the cathedral.
We have said that there are many things to see in Roskilde. And they are almost all related to the history of Vikings. The most obvious of these legacies is the one that is preserved in Viking Ship Museum which is located on the banks of the Roskilde fjord and is one of the main tourist attractions of Denmark. Dedicated to the history of navigation and enriched by finds from ancient and medieval times it opened in 1969 and has attracted a huge number of visitors since then. The museum consists of eight buildings with very different functions, including a shipyard where Viking ships and traditional Nordic wooden boats are rebuilt, and an activity center where adults and children can try their skills in Viking-style crafts.
If this dive into the distant era of the northern warriors were not enough, it will take a few kilometers to get an extra emotion: a few kilometers away is the town of Frederikssund, which was formerly a Viking port. Here was a carefully rebuilt medieval village and every year, in the second half of June, a historical festival.
What to see in Roskilde: guitar solos
Only antiquities and symbols of our world’s violent past? Not at all, in the list of what to see in Roskilde there are also much more modern signs. And even the solos of electric guitars. Yes, because this town is the seat of one of the most important music festivals of Europestaged from 1971and which annually attracts over eighty thousand people from Scandinavia and not only.
The list of rock bands and not only that they have played and will perform also in the next edition. In addition to music, however, this has now become a global event with performances by figurative artsalbeit avant-garde, and performances by electronic music. What was once wild camping is now one city in miniature with all the services and with an organization that works a year to prepare the party that lasts from the end of June to the beginning of July.
Rock, ancient ships And royal tombs. The panorama of Roskilde may perhaps leave you perplexed. So, to please even more traditional tastes, all that remains is to add il to the list of what to see in Roskilde Ledreborg palace. You arrive from the city center in just over twenty minutes and what appears is a kind of fairy castlesurrounded by splendid baroque gardens.
From the 1739the palace was the home of the family Holstein-Ledreborg and it is one of the best examples Scandinavian architecture of the eighteenth century inserted in a landscape that seems not to have been affected too much by the time passed. It was commissioned by the head of the royal chancellery and it represents a perfectly preserved model of a Rococo palace. But it is the gardens that strike: they are over four hectares of romantic park without a discordant note. And feeling like a Scandinavian knight is very easy.
What to see in Roskilde: feel like a druid for a day
Don’t you want to be a noble but a blacksmith? Do you prefer to feel like a druid? No problem: in Roskilde it is possible. In fact, just go to the Lejre Research Centeralso known as Land of Legends, to have this opportunity. It is a open-air archaeological museum of 43 hectares just outside the city. The museum includes incredibly realistic reconstructions of a village in theiron age it’s a sacrificial swamp (which dates back, in intention, to 200 BC.), a Viking market from the year 1000a reconstruction of an Iron Age settlement up to nineteenth-century farmhouses.
The beauty is that all these spaces are inhabited and lived by people in costume who try in every way to eat, dress, sleep and live authentically. Bringing back to life the period they represent. This is obviously the first address for those traveling with children and a good opportunity for the whole family. At least for what they want to know how to light a fire with flint or dye the canvases with natural powders.
Finally it’s time to dive into nature of Denmark going to explore the surroundings. It is an area rich in fjordswith green meadows that degrade into the blue and where it is nice to stop for a break in the small and quiet villages of the peninsula of Hornsherred. In particular don’t miss the villages of Sæby, from Gershøj or that of Skibby from the typical houses with thatched roofs; the rustic taverns along the banks of the fjord also become an ideal place to enjoy the excellent local Danish gastronomy. And to think that to be a Viking, at least for a day it’s not bad at all.