Welcome in Ribe VikingeCenter! At the entrance 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'll travel back in time.
This Viking farm is an imposing estate with a longhouse, stable, smithy, barn, workshop, fields, gardens and animals. The Viking farmer owning all this is a great and influential man and has a lot of people working for him in order to run the place. Sheep shearing, midsummer, harvest time, Viking cooking, horse shows and more are just some of the experiences during the season on the Viking farm.
Please, step inside the Longhouse! To your left is a small stable. To your right is the entrance to the 'posh' section, where the farmer lives with his family. Why don't you sit down and take a moment to notice all the smells, sounds and details. There's a crackle from the fireplace, somebody's grinding flour and outside a cow is mooing. The lovely smell of a hearty soup cooking, firm mattresses filled with hay, soft sheepskins, large wooden statues, shields on the wall and a peek through the door to the farmers bedroom. Breathe in the atmosphere.
This is where the fearless warriors and shieldmaidens stay, and you should know that they are always ready to defend the town Ripa against aggressive strangers. Everyday they train young recruits and teach them how to use shields and swords in combat. They are also skilled archers which takes precision, technique and a good longbow. Let them give you a few tips before you try your aim at archery. Also, try out the warrior exercises, put on a Viking helmet and feel the weight of a real sword!
The innkeeper, the shoemaker, the carpenter and more live in Ripa Town. 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 Ripa Town you're welcome to explore the houses, and you can challenge each other to a Viking game, grind flour, work at the shaving horse at the carpenter's and attend the falcon show.
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. Have a look at the Earl's beautiful chair and the splendid, colourful mural which is 20 metres long and depicting the story of Ripa's foundation in around 710 AD up till today, 825 AD. By the way, the Thing-hall is the only house in Ripa with a latrine. Have you seen it?
Craftsmen and traders travel for days to do business here in the market place. They say the range of goods in Ripa 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 whinnying horses and cries of salespeople. It smells of smoke, exotic spices, cow-dung and things even worse.
At the silversmith's you might be tempted to buy a beautiful piece of jewellery and look! He sells both Thor's hammers and Christian crosses. It's just fascinating to watch the art of the glass beadmaker and how he melts and shapes tiny, colourful beads. It's magic... almost like when the coin maker with one heavy blow mints the king's silver coin - the sceatta. You should also stop by the blacksmith's dark workshop where he is making nails, knives, buckles and more.
The old gods have great power over life and death, so you have better stay on good terms with them. The völva has a small shed here at the sacrificial place which is where the sacred rituals take place, like for instance at Midsummer. Think of the völva as a kind of shaman, a spiritual leader in the old Norse society. She's a wise woman with a great knowledge of the old gods, runes and herbs. You might just run into her here at this very special place.
The harbour is a vital and vibrant centre for the town's trade connections in the world. Drinking glasses from Francia, pottery from the Rhineland, whetstone and antlers from Norway, and glass mosaics from Italy. Ships carrying exotic goods land in Ripa. The demand is high and raw materials are used for e.g. jewellery and combs in the marketplace. One of the most valuable export articles is amber collected on the North Sea Coast.
The message of Christianity has arrived in town and the king has granted bishop Ansgar permission to build a church in Ripa. In 860 AD the Vikings already know of the new faith from expeditions and dealings with foreign traders of which some refuse to do business with pagans. Some of the locals keep to their old gods, while others have no problem with adding yet another god to the list of old ones. Stop by the Ansgar Church and discover the beautiful wood carvings.
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.
You, too, can travel back in time and come face to face with the Vikings!