At the entrance you get a clue of what is awaiting you. You are greeted by the goddesses of destiny, the three Norns. They spin your thread of life and know everything about your past, present and future. Imagine that! They lead you through our gift shop and into the magical world of the Vikings. Take a deep breath, because now we're off!
Welcome to the Manor farm, 980 AD! Standing at the runestone, you have the imposing estate with longhouse, stable, smithy, barns, workshops, pit-houses, and fields lying right in front of you. The Viking farmer owning all this is no insignificant man, mind you. He has a lot of people working for him to run the place.
Please, do step inside! To your left is a small stable. To your right is the entrance to the 'posh' section, where the farmer lives with his family. You're welcome to sit down on the mattress filled with hay or at the high table. Breathe in the atmosphere and the typical smells of sausages by the fireplace, dried herbs, damp woollen blankets, perhaps some old seaweed in a trap hanging on the wall, not to mention smoke!
The farmer is a rich, influential man. He has so many cows that he had to build another stable for the cattle to have a warm shelter during winter. On the farm you'll also meet the sheep and the geese, who make an awful noise at the sight of strangers. The chickens strut around the estate as they please, and maybe the cats have had kittens. Of course, there's also the sturdy Icelandic horses, and you're welcome to give them a handful of grass.
Working in the fields is tough so it's a big help to be able to harness a couple of strong bullocks to the plough. In order to provide for his family and the animals, the farmer must be well-prepared for the long winter. In the field and in the garden he grows different types of grain, vegetables and herbs. In season, the women and children gather nuts and berries to dry and preserve.
The gods have great power over life and death, so you have better stay on good terms with them. The sacred rituals, which take place here at the sacrificial place, are always conducted by the völva, Gunna. Perhaps you'll run into her on you tour around the place. She knows everything about the old gods, just as she has great knowledge of herbs and can read your future.
At the archery range, the young archers like to show off their skills. A good bow is required, of course, but it also takes precision and technique. If you are game, they will lend you a longbow and give you a few tips. The archery range is also used for the falconry shows, and you wouldn't want to miss out on those. You will marvel at the birds' agility as they brush past you and fly right above your head.
This is where e.g. the innkeeper, the shoemaker and the carpenter live. It's hard to tell beforehand who's home, though. You see, the men are easily tempted by dreams of adventure and swift riches, so they go away on long journeys. In Ribe town you can try the Vikings' games or maybe learn how to play 'Hnefatafl'. You're also welcome to grind flour, bake flatbread, borrow a cape and move into the Thing-hall.
Let us show you the prestigious Thing-hall, where the townsmen have assemblies from time to time. There's a unique atmosphere in the great hall with the fireplace, and would you just look at that beautiful mural! The chieftain, Bjarni, commissioned this 20 metres long wall painting portraying the story of Ribe's foundation in around 710 AD up till today, 825 AD.
Craftsmen and traders travel for days to do business here in the market place. They say the range of goods in Ribe is unmatched in all Scandinavia! The place is just buzzing and especially so during the spring market, when you can buy anything from drinking glasses, amber, hides and slaves. The many languages spoken here mingle with the cries of the fishwives, bakers and entertainers. It smells of smoke, exotic spices, cow-dung and things even worse.
The glass bead maker comes here every year. You'll find yourself spellbound by his art and tempted to buy some of the lovely beads. He uses blue glass from Anatolia and colourful Italian mosaic tiles. It takes a certain temperature to melt the glas, which then is shaped and decorated around the iron rod. Who would believe that the luminescent, melted mass could end up a beautiful blue bead? It's just magical!
You'll hear the loud peal of hammering as you approach. The small, hot smithy is completely dark except for the light from the door opening and the glow from the hearth. The blacksmith's eyes have grown used to the darkness and he's really working hard to finish all the orders for knives, axes, harness buckles and more. Oh, he knows his worth, all right. His prices aren't exactly cheap either.
The market place here by the river is set 8 km from the treacherous sea, where both floods and pirates pose a threat. So this harbour being secure and well-protected attracts traders arriving with their shallow-draft, broad-bowed vessels like, for instance, Gisla. Just imagine how sometimes it smells of tar, ropes and fish offal right here. Still, it is quite scenic by the harbour.
The playground is hugely popular with our young visitors. They can visit each other in the little Viking houses in Midgard - the world inhabited by humans. On the other side of the ocean is Asgard - the country of the Norse Gods. However, only the really brave ones venture out on the path leading over there, because if you touch the ground, the Midgard Serpent will get you!
With so many impressions to digest, you might need a little rest and a refreshment. So why not visit our café located in the wing of the manor Lustrupholm. It offers lunches, home-made cakes, drinks and good coffee. When the weather is nice, many visitors choose to sit outside in the lovely, old garden and in the pavilion. You may also enjoy your own sandwiches here.