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Cultural Routes in Scandinavia

Cultural routes in Scandinavia reveal the depth and breadth of Viking culture, and not surprisingly with the scenic beauty these countries offer, some fantastic pan-European scenic routes as well.

Vikings are on of Norway’s most famous cultural aspects. Who were these people? With such a poor agricultural basis in Norway, coastal dwellers became partners with the sea for sustenance and exploration; boat-building skills were easily the best in Europe. The results were voyages of discovery, trade and brutal raids, but the Vikings also founded a number of cities and colonies, including Dublin and Normandy. They colonized Iceland, which in turn became the springboard for the colonization of Greenland. Marvel at the vestiges of this courageous civilization at the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the Lofotr Viking Museum.

The Vikings left their distinctive mark in Denmark. Conveniently, a trip the Viking Age sites also takes in some of the country’s most beautiful regions. The Jelling Church contains one of the most remarkable monuments of the Viking Age, consisting of two huge mounds, between which are two runic stones. On the largest of these King Harald Bluetooth had inscribed that the stone was erected as a monument to his parents, and that he had united Denmark as a single kingdom and converted the Danes to Christianity. Among Viking edifices, their circular strongholds are some of the most impressive. Trelleborg Castle in West Zealand and Fyrkat near Hobro in Jutland are the most clearly visible and an impressive ship tumulus is exhibited on Funen. The Viking Ship Museum is built up around a find of 5 shipwrecks from Viking times, which testify to the legendary shipbuilding skills of the Vikings.

Want to see a “new” Viking ship? Iceland has it! Vikingaheimar is the home of the Viking Ship Íslendingur (the Icelander). Built in 1996, Icelander is an exact replica of the famous Gokstad
ship, a remarkable archaeological find of an almost completely intact Viking ship, excavated in Norway in 1882. Captain Gunnar Marel Eggertsson copied the original nail for nail. In the year 2000, with a grant from the Leifur Eiríksson Commission of Iceland, he sailed from Iceland to New York, a journey of 4200 nautical miles. His voyage brought worldwide attention to Leif Eiriksson's and Bjarni Herjólfsson's discovery of America, dated, according to the Icelandic sagas, to exactly 1000 A.D.

Start on one of several pan-European routes in Finland that highlight Scandinavian history, culture and scenery. The King's Road follows the old mail route from Bergen, Norway, via Oslo and Stockholm to Åland, and all the way across Southern Finland to St. Petersburg in Russia. Mediaeval churches, beautiful manors, old ironworks villages, and idyllic harbors tell the story of the long history of the King's Road. The single most important road in the early history of Finland, merchants, soldiers, peasants, and kings have used Ox Road of Häme for more than a thousand years. The Blue Highway runs west through Finland across Sweden to Norway and the east to Kargopol in Russia. The culture and history found along the route are colorful and original. The Northern Lights Route, which traverses the stunning fell scenery of Finland, Sweden, and Norway, passes along the border of Finland and Sweden. As you drive further north, traditional agricultural areas change into areas where reindeer husbandry dominates. In addition to a diverse natural environment, the region is home to a long Lappish culture rich in tradition with all of its manifestations. 



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