The Vordingborg castle was built in 1175 by King King Valdemar I as a defensive castle and as a base from which to launch raids against the German coast. His half-brother built another castle in a remote location, which is now Copenhagen. King Valdemar II similarly used the castle for expansion into the Baltic, and in 1241 it was where he created the reformed legal system, the Law of Jutland. By the time of King Valdemar IV, the castle had nine towers and a defensive wall 800 metres long. The castle was the birthplace of Queen Margaret I, daughter of King Valdemar IV, in 1353.
Large parts of the castle were demolished after the Swedish wars had ended, in order to construct a palace for Prince George, son ofKing Frederick III. The prince never took up residence, and the palace too was demolished in the 18th century. Three manors were constructed nearby, including Iselingen, which became a meeting place for many leading artists and scientists during the 1800s.
Today Vordingborg Castle is a ruin, although parts of the fourteenth century ring walls remain. The only fully preserved part of the castle, the 26 meter tall Goose Tower (Gåsetårnet), is the symbol of the city. The name comes from the golden goose that perches on top of the tower's spire. Although legend has it that Valdemar Atterdag used the symbol to taunt the Hanseatic League, the truth is the goose was first erected in 1871. The tower was transferred into the national trust on December 24, 1808, and was thus the first, protected historic monument in Denmark.
Next to the castle is a botanical garden and also a museum. A larger museum is planned which will include information on all of Denmark's historical castles. Excavations of the castle ruins continue. Regular archaeological digs take place here. Many of the finds are displayed in the exhibition at the Danish Castle Centre (Danmarks Borgcenter).References:
The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen.
The museum buildings are organized into a small town of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 19th century in various parts of the country and later moved to Aarhus during the 20th century. In all there are some 27 rooms, chambers or kitchens, 34 workshops, 10 groceries or shops, 5 historical gardens, a post office, a customs office, a school and a theatre.
The town itself is the main attraction but most buildings are open for visitors; rooms are either decorated in the original historical style or organized into larger exhibits of which there are 5 regular with varying themes. There are several groceries, diners and workshops spread throughout the town with museum staff working in the roles of town figures i.e. merchant, blacksmith etc. adding to the illusion of a 'living' town.