Viking Ring Fortress Trelleborg
Slagelse (Sjælland region), DENMARK
Slagelse is a small town located about 100 km southwest of Copenhagen, in Denmark, and has plenty to offer to the tourists with its many markets, squares and an exciting an active town life, thus providing the perfect setting for many hours of varied shopping and an active cultural life. The Trelleborg gigantic ring fortress is located in a scenic and peaceful area of great natural beauty, about 7 km west of Slagelse and 22 km from the town of Sorø and is the best preserved ring fortresses of its kind, as well as one of Denmark's most important monuments from the Viking Age.
Like the other Viking ring fortresses discovered so far (seven as per 2014), the Trelleborg at Slagelse was designed as an exact circle: two roads facing the compass points divided the internal part in exactly four same size quarters and led to the four gates with two always opposite to each other. In each of the quarters stood four longhouses arranged in a square. Unlike the other ring fortresses, the Trelleborg at Slagelse was extended with a sort of bailey. In its day the Trelleborg fortress lied on a peninsula jutting into the swampy area between two rivers. The swamp was connected to the "Great Belt" (a strait between the islands of Zealand and Funen) by a lake that could be navigated by Viking ships. By using dendrochronological dating of timber from its moats, scientists estimated that the Trelleborg fortress was built in the 980s AD. Very likely it was part of King Harald "Bluetooth"’s military system aimed to strengthen the royal power in Denmark subduing minor kings and local chieftains. Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson (c.958-c.986) was King of Denmark and Norway, united dissonant Danish tribes into a single kingdom and, according to legend, introduced also Christianity in the country (to find out more please visit the Wikipedia page).
Today the Trelleborg fortress is part of the National Museum of Denmark, and consists of a museum, a visitors' centre and the Trelletorp Viking village with a longhouse and other Viking-era buildings that have been reconstructed using authentic materials and techniques. Thanks to a wealth of live-in activities, displays and events offered in the summer, the Trelleborg at Slagelse is one of the places where the Vikings' way of life can be most closely experienced in Europe. The museum hosts many original finds from the excavations carried out in the 1940s and faithful reconstructions providing a vivid impression of the Viking Age. Movies, models, texts offer the visitors an exciting way to learn more about Trelleborg's history, its inhabitants and the function of the fortress. In the village the visitors can experience first-hand the crafts and daily tasks of the Vikings, such as baking a flat bread, forging a knife, shooting a longbow, casting jewellery and much more. Living history interpreters and reenactors offer crafts or fighting demonstrations. There are also guided tours, and a variety of live-in activities, workshops and programs specially tailored for children, youths and adults.
The site is also a host for living history events which bring the past times alive in an authentic place, like the great Viking Market which is held every year in July. To find out more about the event, please visit our dedicated page, click here.
Info & Contact
Address: Trelleborg Allé 4, Hejninge, 4200 Slagelse, Sjælland region, Denmark
Tel.: +45 58549506 | Fax: +45 58549516
National Museum of Denmark / Nationalmuseet
Address: Prinsens PalæNy Vestergade 10, DK-1471 København, Denmark
Tel.: +45 3313 4411
E-mail: see the contact form online
Address: Klosterstræde 18 - DK-4300 Holbæk, Denmark
Tel.: +45 59432353
Image: National Museum of Denmark
Text sources: National Museum of Denmark, Vikingeborgen Trelleborg, Wikipedia
Slagelse and Trelleborg Viking Fortress on Google Maps:
Exploring the Slagelse Trelleborg ring fortress:
A well-worth documentary film (in Danish language):