Sunday, July 26, 2015

Birka

Birka was a village on the island of Björkö in Lake Mälaren about 2 hours west of Stockholm by boat. Birka was an important trading center with the rest of the world during the Viking Age in the 8th-10th centuries.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was a day excursion with Strömma boat tours. The excursion included a guided tour from an archaeologist. He was both informative and entertaining as he walked us around wearing a period costume. There were recreations of some of the wooden houses and boats from the time but the town site is just an open field now.

On the way to Birka














Birka



Tour guide (above) took us through Viking Age burial mounds:


Birka was a village of 700 people with houses on this field by the water:


Inside the nearby hill fortress area for when attackers came to the island. It used to have a wooden fence wall and gates for the gaps:


Tour guide on the outer wall of the fortress area overlooking the water:

 




We didn't see the problem but an air ambulance stopped in front of us on the field:



Recreations of Birka houses and boats:








 













Vikings didn't have horned helmets. They looked like this: 


A model of the hill fortress wall next to Birka:


models of Birka:






Runes carved in stone:


It was a nice ride out in the morning turning cold and rainy for the afternoon return:


The top deck of the boat emptied as they dropped people off at several stops on the way back to Stockholm. We sat under an overhang until seats were available inside:


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