Jelling Runestones

Jelling, Denmark

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 inscriptions on these stones are considered the most well known in Denmark.

The Jelling stones stand in the churchyard of Jelling church between two large mounds. The stones represent the transitional period between the indigenous Norse paganism and the process of Christianization in Denmark; the larger stone is often cited as Denmark's baptismal certificate (dåbsattest), containing a depiction of Christ. They are strongly identified with the creation of Denmark as a nation state and both stones feature one of the earliest records of the name 'Danmark'.

After having been exposed to all kinds of weather for a thousand years cracks are beginning to show. On the 15th of November 2008 experts from UNESCO examined the stones to determine their condition. Experts requested that the stones be moved to an indoor exhibition hall, or in some other way protected in situ, to prevent further damage from the weather.

Heritage Agency of Denmark decided to keep the stones in their current location and selected a protective casing design from 157 projects submitted through a competition. The winner of the competition was Nobel Architects. The glass casing creates a climate system that keeps the stones at a fixed temperature and humidity and protects them from weathering. The design features rectangular glass casings strengthened by two solid bronze sides mounted on a supporting steel skeleton. The glass is coated with an anti-reflective material that gives the exhibit a greenish hue. Additionally, the bronze patina gives off a rusty, greenish colour, highlighting the runestones' gray and reddish tones and emphasising their monumental character and significance.

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Address

Thyrasvej 3, Jelling, Denmark
See all sites in Jelling

Details

Founded: 10th century
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Denmark
Historical period: Viking Age (Denmark)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Joel Bartley (20 months ago)
The birthplace of modern Denmark, a must see. So much history with some good places to eat near by
Carina Lauridsen (20 months ago)
Highly recommend getting a guide - they make it very exciting
Erzsébet Torma (2 years ago)
We liked its beauty, the peace and the feeling that your soul can rest a bit.
Nicolai Krogh (2 years ago)
One of the most important historic places in Denmark. Don't miss out on the free museum across the road. Also take a walk around the scenery and see if all from different angels. The history of the stones are very interesting, and really should be studied prior to coming to get the real historic feel. A bunch of good options to get a bite to eat next to the place and in the museum as well. Fairly easy parking. Should not a be a problem off season.
Glenn Rowley (2 years ago)
These monuments and associated exhibits are so cool! We loved seeing these 800-year old historical treasures! Don't miss this is when visiting the Jutland region of Denmark!
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Hagios Demetrios

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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.

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