A wee bit of Viking history in Aarhus, Denmark

The timing of our visit to Aarhus, Denmark left a wee bit to be desired. I actually don’t really mind that we were there which it was freezing, windy and snowing. The bad timing comes from the fact that the main day we had to spend in town was a Monday and the two main museums are closed on Mondays. We didn’t get to visit the art museum nor the Viking history museum. But that didn’t stop us from getting a bit of culture and history in on our visit.

Not too long ago a new branch of the Nordea bank was being built just off the edge of the small canal which runs through the center of the city. Turns out that the construction unearthed an archeological site from centuries prior. While many of the bits from the find were moved in to the real museum the site itself was made in to a minim museum which sits beneath the bank today. It is only a 10-15 minute diversion, but still informative and interesting.


There is a skeleton on display in the position it was originally discovered which suggests that it was a murder victim and they ham up that story a bit. There are other bits, too, like a model of a home from that era, some original stones from the paved road which used to circle the inside of the protective wall and maps explaining the history of the town over the years.

One of the more interesting bits to me personally came when we left the small museum and headed back up to the street to wander around town a bit more. We crossed the small canal/river running through the center of town when I had one of those moments of discovery which I’m certain most others figure out well before I do. The water we were crossing was the same as the moat which was built nearly 1000 years ago as part of the towns fortifications. Today it serves as a centerpiece of the downtown area, providing a pedestrian mall and lined with restaurants and shops. Not the same function as for which it was originally built but equally important to the survival of the city.

Like many visits to a European city there was also the requisite church stop in Aarhus. The current iteration of the cathedral was built in the 15th century though the site was first used as a church more than 500 years earlier. Today the cathedral is known for the frescoes inside. They are certainly interesting, if not a bit bizarre.

We missed plenty in Aarhus due to our unfortunate timing. But was also saw some very cool bits, had a great meal and I learned some history. A very worthwhile stop as we explored the Jutland peninsula.

More photos from Spring Break in Denmark here.

More from Spring Break 2013 here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.