In July 2019, we went with our ‘Gypsy-Viking camp’, as we jokeingly like to call our endavours, for a longer trip. Our route started in Warsaw, from where we continued to Germany, to Haithabu (on the Baltic coast, right next to the border with Denmark). Then we crossed the whole of continental Denmark, heading to the tip of it where we boarded a ferry to Norway. Norway was the destination of our trip.
Our first longer stop was Haithabu, a place known to all reenactors of the early Middle Ages due to the huge number of finds from the Viking period in this area.
In the Middle Ages, Hedeby was a thriving trade center, where traders and craftsmen from all over the Baltic Sea region, continental Europe and beyond met and exchanged goods. Hedeby was one of the largest centers of the Viking world, in Old Norse it was called Haithabu.
Major Viking settlements, CC BY-SA 2.5, source: Wikipedia
Today, Haithabu impresses with an interesting museum and a village populated by modern craftsmen who recreate goods using techniques and materials known in the Viking Age. In the village you can meet makers and traders from all over Europe and see their handmade products. This really adds to the atmosphere of a lively medieval port. Visitors are invited to explore a medieval market with stalls – you can not only buy something, you can also get to know the maker, see the process of creating objects, e.g. shaping clay vessels on a potter’s wheel, weaving on a vertical loom, working in leather or weaving baskets. Time seems to flow very slowly in Haithabu, it is more than welcome to stop and have a chat and ask questions to the villagers, craftsmen and craftswomen.
The museum is beautifully situated by the coast. This makes it a fantastic place to spend the whole day with family or on your own. The reenactors who live in the village for a few months create a wonderful atmosphere of this place which in the summer is simply teeming with life. It’s worth trying your hand at archery, ax throwing and crafts. A charming place is also the pier where you can see replicas of medieval boats in use.