Ribe VikingeCenter receives donation

28.06.2014

Denmark's first Christians

"Denmark's first Christians" is the title of Ribe VikingeCenter's new project starting in September and spreading over three years. It comprises the reconstructions of the early Ribe Harbour as well as the first church in Ribe, which originally was built by the missionary Ansgar.

With the generous donation from the A.P. Møller Foundation, Ribe VikingeCenter will be able to showcase the introduction of Christianity in Denmark.

Tangible archaeological proof of the harbour and the church are yet to be found. However, the results of the latest dig by the cathedral in Ribe (Ribe Domkirke) states that the transition from Asatru (Norse Heathenism) to Christianity took place around 100 years earlier than first assumed on the basis of the Jelling stones. Ribe VikingeCenter wishes to communicate this new and extremely important chapter of Danish history right on the spot where it happened.

It all began with a harbour

The first stage of the project concerns Ribe harbour, one of the earliest commercial ports in Denmark. The existing quay in Ribe VikingeCenter will be quite heavily extended to form a bustling harbour with landing stages, shipyard, warehouses, workshops and stalls.

Visitors will have ample opportunity to follow the construction work and get an idea of Ribe's development 1300 years ago. The first few Vikings settled down on the banks of Ribe River around 710 BC, and the following years of extensive trade and economic growth gave Ribe a certain status. This eventually drew the attention of the church, and around 855 BC Ansgar was given the permission to build a church in Ribe. The second stage of the project is exactly this: building Ansgar's church.

The new Viking environments will become the setting of many hands-on activities and events. In interaction with the existing environments, the harbour and church will provide the visitors with an almost complete picture of life in Denmark during the Viking Age. A scenario exclusive to Ribe VikingeCenter.