Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last Day in Scandinavia: Jelling and Ribe

The small Jelling stone, Gorm the Old honoring his wife

The big Jelling stone, Harald Bluetooth, founder of the dynasty, honoring Gorm and Thyra, his parents

Christ on the big stone


Inside the 12th century church

Church between the tumuli and grounds

Poster of Danish royalty, from Harald to Margarethe

Our last day in Scandinavia saw us visiting Jelling for the Jelling rune stones and Ribe, one of Denmark's oldest and best-preserved medieval towns. Jelling is important in that its rune stone, the big one, begins the Danes' monarchy, straight to the present Queen Margarethe, and identifies its founder as the conqueror and Christianizer Harald Bluetooth. It is a national site, and the two stones, one Harald's, one his father's (Gorm the Old, honoring his queen Thyra, “pride of Denmark”), rest beside the 12th century church, which itself sits between the two enormous 10th-century tumuli. Ribe once competed with Copenhagen, but declined when its port silted up. It is indeed well-preserved and picturesque. After skyping with Rebecca and Rachel near Ribe, we drove on and camped at a forlorn rest area in Schleswig-Holstein, 40 miles north of Hamburg.

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