If the cathedral weren't reason enough to visit Roskilde, the Viking ships displayed here certainly are. These types of ships sailed to England, to Hamburg on the German coast, and -- dare we speculate? -- even to the east coast of North America. Displayed here are five vessels found in Roskilde Fjord and painstakingly pieced together from countless fragments of wreckage. It's presumed that the craft were deliberately sunk about 20km (12 miles) north of Roskilde at the narrowest section of the fjord to protect the settlement from a sea attack. The discovery was relatively unpublicized until 1957, when the Danish National Museum carried out a series of underwater excavations.
A merchant cargo ship used by the Vikings, a small ferry or fishing boat, and a Danish Viking warship similar to the ones portrayed in the Bayeux Tapestry are also displayed, and a longship -- a Viking man-of-war that terrorized European coasts -- was also discovered. Copies of Viking jewelry may be purchased in the museum gift shop, and there's also a cafeteria.
To understand the attraction better, you can see a short film, The Ships of the Vikings, about the excavation and preservation of the ships and the building and navigation of Roar Ege, a Viking ship replica.
In 1997, the Viking Ship Museum opened a museum harbor for its collection of Nordic vessels, including Roar Ege, plus another Viking ship replica, Helge Ask. The museum's restored sloop, Ruth, is also moored here. And workshops where you can try your hand at old maritime crafts, such as rope- and sail-making, woodworking, and other activities, are located opposite the Boat Yard.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010