Runestones

Jelling Runestones

The Jelling stones are massive carved runestones from the 10th century, found at the town of Jelling in Denmark. The older of the two Jelling stones was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger of the two stones was raised by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents, celebrating his conquest of Denmark and Norway, and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. The runic inscr ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Jelling, Denmark

Anundshög

Anundshög is the largest tumulus in Sweden. It has a diameter of 60 metres and is about 9 metres high. Assessments of the era of the mound vary between the Bronze Age and the late Iron Age. A fireplace under it has been dated by radiocarbon dating to sometime between AD 210 and 540. Some historians have associated the mound with the legendary King Anund, while others regard this as speculative. It is purported also ...
Founded: 1500 BC - 1000 AD | Location: Västerås, Sweden

Vallentuna Church

The original Vallentuna church was built around 1190. The granite church consisted of a nave, choir and tower. The sacristy was added in the 13th century. The church was enlarged in the 15th century and brick vaults were constructed in 1763. The chapel of Klingspor family was built in the 17th century. Vallentuna church was badly damaged by fire in 1856. The church was restored and the exterior was strongly reshaped. The ...
Founded: c. 1190 | Location: Vallentuna, Sweden

Frösö Runestone

Frösöstenen is the northern-most raised runestone in the World and Jämtland"s only runestone. It originally stood at the tip of ferry terminal on the sound between the island of Frösön and Östersund. The stone dates to between 1030 and 1050. It has now been relocated to the lawn in front of the local county seat due to the construction of a new bridge, between 1969 and 1971, on the origi ...
Founded: 1030-1050 | Location: Frösön, Sweden

Lovö Church

The oldest part of Lovö Church has been dated back to the later part of the 12th century. According Berit Wallenberg it was built as early as the 11th century. It is also believed that an even older wooden church existed on this site. Church sermons are held in the church, normally once a month, and for certain Christian holidays. The church is unusually small and narrow. It was extended to the east, first in the 13th a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Drottningholm, Sweden

Rök Runestone

The Rök Runestone is one of the most famous runestones, featuring the longest known runic inscription in stone. It is considered the first piece of written Swedish literature and thus it marks the beginning of the history of Swedish literature. The stone was discovered built into the wall of the church in the 19th century and removed from the church wall a few decades later. The church was built in the 12th century, ...
Founded: 800 AD | Location: Ödeshög, Sweden

Runestones U-970 & U-969 at Burial Ground

These two stones are only a few meters apart on the side of a small burial mound at the side of an burial ground. Much of the burial ground is now used as pature for a 4-H Club. U-970 Translation - 'Vide raised the stone after..(missing).. Öpir....' Additional Info - Öpir is the runemaster who carved the stone and is one of the most prolific runemasters in the area. Both this stone and U #969, just a ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Järsberg Runestone

The Järsberg Runestone is a stone of reddish granite which is believed to have been part of a stone circle monument. The upper part of the runestone is damaged and this was already the case when the stone was found. In Värmland, there are only four runestones of which two are from the Viking Age (in Old Norse) and the two others are from the Age of Migrations (in the older Proto-Norse). The Järsberg Runestone is one o ...
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Kristinehamn, Sweden

Aspa Runestones

There are four runestones located at Aspa, which is about six kilometers north of Runtuna, where a road has passed a creek since prehistoric times. One of the stones is the oldest surviving native Scandinavian source that mentions the kingdom of Sweden beside the runestones DR 344 and DR 216. Another stone Sö 137 is raised in memory of a Viking who had spent time in the west.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Sparlösa Runestone

The Sparlösa Runestone, listed as Vg 119 in the Rundata catalog, is the second most famous Swedish runestone after the Rök Runestone. It was discovered in 1669 in the southern wall of the church of Sparlösa. Before their historical value was understood, many runestones were used as construction material for roads, walls, and bridges. Following a fire at the church in 1684, the runestone was split in rebuild ...
Founded: c. 800 AD | Location: Sparlösa, Sweden

Kallerup Runestone

The Kallerup Stone was discovered in 1827 by a stonemason in a field with several stone circles near a church in Hedehusene. It was then restored in 1851 by raising it near its original position. This granite runestone, which is 1.6 meters in height, is among the oldest in Denmark and is believed to date from about 700 to 800 AD. The elder futhark inscription is somewhat unusual in that it uses text bands, the inscribed l ...
Founded: 700-800 AD | Location: Hedehusene, Denmark

Högom Grave Field

Högom is a grave field dating from the Iron Age (c. 500 AD). The area 315x190m and consists of 10 mounds. Four of them have diameter of 40m and they are 4-5m high. On the southern side is also an Viking Age runestone, so-called Högomstenen. The cross in stone refers to early Christian influence in the area.
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Högom, Sweden

Vaksala Runestone

The Vaksala Runestone is one of the approximately forty runestones made by the runemaster Öpir, who signed this inscription and was active in the late 11th and early 12th century in Uppland. This runestone style is characterized by slim and stylized animals that are interwoven into tight patterns. The animal heads are typically seen in profile with slender almond-shaped eyes and upwardly curled appendages on the nose ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Karlevi Runestone

The Karlevi Runestone, designated as Öl 1 by Rundata, is commonly dated to the late 10th century. It is one of the most notable and prominent runestones and constitutes the oldest record of a stanza of skaldic verse. The runic inscription on the Karlevi Runestone is partly in prose, partly in verse. It is the only example of a complete scaldic stanza preserved on a runestone and is composed in the "lordly meter" the dr ...
Founded: ca. 950-1000 AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Öland, Sweden

Björketorp Runestone

The Björketorp Runestone is part of a grave field which includes menhirs, both solitary and formingstone circles. It is one of the world's tallest runestones measuring 4.2 metres in height, and it forms an imposing sight together with two high uninscribed menhirs. The runes were made in the 6th or the 7th century and in Proto-Norse. It is found on two sides.
Founded: 500-700 AD | Location: Ronneby, Sweden

Vildtbane Runestone

Vildtbane runestone is an important landmark and historical monument. It is located by a dammed stream that has formed a man-made boundary since the eighth century A.D. The upright monolith marks the boundary of the King’s exclusive rights to hunt. The stone dates from 1775, when the King’s hunting grounds were still extensive.
Founded: c. 730 AD | Location: Jyllinge, Denmark

Kulisteinen

Kulisteinen is perhaps the most famous runic stone in Norway. For over 900 years the Kuli stone had been at Kuløy, but then 1913 it was moved to Vitenskapsmuseet i Trondheim. A copy of Kulisteinen was erected in 1969, where the original stone is believed to have stood. Erecting stones as monuments is an ancient pre-Christian custom. Today, we can read on the stone: «Tore and Halvard erected this stone for Ulv ...
Founded: | Location: Smøla, Norway

Kullerstad Church

Kullerstad church is a whitewashed Romanesque stone church dating from the 13th century. It is known of two Gunnar"s bridge runestones: according runes there was a man named Håkon who dedicated a bridge to the memory of his son Gunnar. The first runestone was found in the exterior wall of the church of Kullerstad in 1969 and is raised in the cemetery. The second stone was discovered in a church only 500 metres ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.