Hedeby is the Southernmost Nordic town, and played an important role as a key trading center in the viking age. It is at the crossroads of the Slien Fjord and the Baltic Sea to the East, streams that led to the Atlantic running close by to the West and the main land route, the Army Road running along the Jutland high ridge up along the Eastern side of Jutland.

The city area is surrounded by a 1300 meter long city wall in a half circle around the city area. The city wall is in places still 10 meters high, and was directly connected to the wall, Danevirke, which crossed the entire peninsula of Jutland with Hedeby as the Eastern edge.

Today the city wall can be distinguished from the surroundings by the trees that grow on it. The city area is 6 hectares large. Hedeby is known to exist as early as in the 8th century. A written source tells of the arrival of King Godfred to Hedeby in 804 with his army. And in 808 King Godfred closed down a Slavic trading center called Reric and moved all its merchants to Hedeby.

The Eastern side of the city area is an arm of the Slien Fjord. This was one of the biggest ports in the Baltic Sea at the time, and had its own defensive system with a chain fencing off the harbour area from the Fjord. Today an example of the kinds of bridges that the viking ships moored at has been created to illustrate how things looked. The cows in the picture are not a recreation of how things were - Hedeby was so large and specialized a trading and crafts construction center that cows inside the Hedeby city wall would be as unusual then as cows on today"s Champs Elysees in Paris would be.

One of the finds made in Hedeby is a large viking ship, which is on display at the Hedeby Museum, along with a model of the original. This is a warship, and probably not the most typical ship type that visited Hedeby, which would see a lot of cargo ships bringing and leaving with different goods, primarily from the Baltic Sea area and Russia.

Hedeby was built around a small stream that runs down through the area, dividing it into a Northern and a Southern section. The reconstructed houses are located just North of the stream, at its original edge.

Around 1050 Hedeby was sacked again and probably destroyed by the attackers, and it was never rebuilt. Around the same time the town of Schleswig at the Northern edge of the Slien Fjord grew steadily in size and importance. A possible reason could be that the ship traffic increasingly needed a deeper harbour than Hedeby could offer.

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Address

Kirchweg, Schleswig, Germany
See all sites in Schleswig

Details

Founded: c. 770 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Germany
Historical period: Part of The Frankish Empire (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

El (2 years ago)
Very difficult place to find, we ended up at the viking village first, which the satnav directed us to. The whole hike starts at the museum and then walk to the Viking village. Not sure how user friendly it would be for wheelchairs. Dogs not allowed, they have to be tied up outside.
Martin Reurings (2 years ago)
Beautiful museum exhibition on the role of Vikings in the area, followed up by a stroll to a reconstructed Village on, I believe, a historic site. Well worth the time and money. Fair warning though, only the main introductions are in English, the bulk of the texts are German and Danish only ? If you manage to catch the summer market that's definitely a bonus and almost rates this back to 5 stars despite the missing English translations.
Burduja Ion (2 years ago)
There is 5 minutes walking distance from parking place. Parking is for free. The museum is focused more on the vikinger community not on the ships. Inside is explained very clear the traditions, trading development with many exhibits. And most likely, is to find out that this small village Haithabu was the most important city in the North of actual Germany. 10 minutes away are small vikinger Houses of the different traders.
Luisa Ruiz (2 years ago)
Though it is an impressive collection, a lot of objects are not dated. Also, unlike visits to museums in other countries, these can be loud here. There are no marked paths, so people come and go at will, meaning that on busy days you might bump into other visitors. It is really worth the visit, however. Dont 4get to visit the giftshop!!!
Mohammad Ashraf Ali (3 years ago)
Distance between Vikings Museum and Vikings houses are almost 1.5 Kilometer. So you need to be Prepared for a little walk ?‍♂️. I think houses are more attractive than Museum.
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