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Visit Denmark’s Newly UNESCO-Listed Viking Ring Fortresses

Viking fortresses in Denmark
Reconstructed house in Viking Ring Fortress in Denmark [Image by Guillaume Baviere on Flickr]

Fans of the Vikings TV show would appreciate these fascinating Viking fortresses, located across Denmark. Aggersborg, Borgring, Fyrkat, Nonnebakken, and Trelleborg are now attracting a lot of interest after they were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The monumental, ring-shaped strongholds have the same uniform, geometric design, which reveals the strategic military planning during the Viking age.

Travelers explore the UNESCO-listed Viking Ring Fortresses

Map of Viking fortresses
Map of Viking Ring Fortresses [Image by Redgeographics on Wikimedia Commons]
Constructed between 970 and 980 CE, Denmark’s Viking ring fortresses are a worthy visit. Meanwhile, Denmark served as a central hub for Viking expeditions, involving trade, conflict and exploration by sea.

Scandinavia went through significant change during the Viking Age, which brought new settlements and established trading routes. While many people think of the Vikings as bloodthirsty, there was much more to these people. As new developments were established, the need for improved defenses saw the construction of the impressive ring-shaped strongholds under King Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormsson.

Strategic positioning of Denmark’s Viking Ring Fortresses

Trelleborgen Viking Fortress
Trelleborgen Viking Ring Fortress, Denmark [Image by Jorchr on Wikimedia Commons]
When they were constructed, the fortresses were strategically positioned close to important sea and land routes, using the natural topography for defensive purposes. However, despite their sophisticated design and scale, they were short-lived. Reportedly they served as defensive fortresses for around 10 years, mainly to protect the local population and support the army. This enabled King Harald to deter any attackers, while effectively responding to threats.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Denmark

Trekkeborg, Denmark
Trelleborg Viking Fortress [Image by Klugschnacker on Wikimedia Commons]
The latest UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the well-preserved Trelleborg ring fortress. This popular tourist attraction features a museum and a reconstructed Viking village.

Aggersborg Viking fortress in Denmark
Aggersborg Viking fortress [Image by Cropbot on Wikimedia Commons]
Meanwhile, Aggersborg is the largest of the fortresses and features numerous timber houses on its streets.

Reconstruction of a Viking house from the ring castle Fyrkat near Hobro, Denmark
Reconstruction of a Viking house from the ring castle Fyrkat near Hobro, Denmark [Image by Malene Thyssen on Wikimedia Commons]
Located in Jutland, the Fyrkat fortress includes evidence of a diverse population and a reconstructed longhouse to visit. Moreover, hidden beneath modern Odense, Nonnebakken is named for a 12th-century nunnery, while Borgring, near Copenhagen, is a focal point for ongoing archaeological research.

Will UNESCO listing increase tourism?

Since the UNESCO World Heritage designation, it is expected that tourism will increase, which will support further research into the historical sites. According to Rane Willerslev, Museum Director of The National Museum of Denmark, the UNESCO recognition will go towards further research, while attracting more visitors.

Meanwhile, the impressive fortresses, constructed to defend against internal conflicts and to enhance the power of the Jelling Dynasty, stand as strong reminders of the Viking Age’s legacy. Moreover, each makes a fascinating site to visit when on vacation in Denmark this summer.

While there, be sure to visit the National Museum of Denmark, with its fascinating exhibits, including the famous Golden Horns, the Egtved Girl, African masks and even Egyptian mummies. When it comes to Vikings, visitors can experience an exciting battle between two Viking warriors in an augmented reality app.


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