Denmark’s Former Capital and Unesco Site!

The drive from Copenhagen to Roskilde is not a whole lot to write home about. Flat freeways with ugly landscapes and the entry into town reminds me of any American city with car dealerships on every corner – I instinctively started looking for the inevitable Target (pardon, Tarjaaaaaiii), BUT then, once the streets all have royal names, you step into a time warp!

It has now been almost two months of total lockdown here in Copenhagen, added to the 10 months spent on lockdown in California, and seeing nature springing back to life while we cannot quite is almost unbearable! Danes now spend their Sundays picnicking in public squares and My Lady Mother and I spent 15 minutes gazing at every restaurant menu and dreaming of being in a noisy restaurant again! A new, wonderful life starts and we are like fish in a tank counting the moments until we can start participating again! Zen……

I do realize that most people do not know much about Viking history, but if there is one name we all recognize, it is that of its Roskilde’s Founding Father; Harald Blåtand, or the more familiar Bluetooth!

According to Wikipedia:

“Roskilde, which developed as the hub of the Viking land and sea trade routes over a thousand years ago, is one of Denmark’s oldest cities. From the 11th century until 1443, it was the capital of Denmark.[4] By the Middle Ages, with the support of kings and bishops, it had become one of the most important centres in Scandinavia.[5] The Saxo Grammaticus and other early sources associate the name Roskilde (meaning “Ro’s spring”) with the legendary King Roar who possibly lived there in the 6th century.[6]

According to Adam of Bremen and the Saxo Grammaticus, Roskilde was founded in the 980s by Harald Bluetooth. On high ground above the harbour, he built a wooden church consecrated to the Holy Trinity as well as a royal residence nearby.[7] Although no traces of these buildings have been discovered, in 1997 archaeologists found the remains of Viking ships in the Isefjord, the oldest of which is dated to 1030. At the time, there were also two churches in the area: St Jørgensbjerg, an early stone church, and a wooden church discovered under today’s St Ib’s Church.[8][9] Harald was buried in the wooden church he had built on the site of today’s Roskilde Cathedral.[5]

In 1020, King Canute elevated Roskilde to a bishopric, giving it high national status.[7] Absalon, the Danish bishop, had a brick church built on the site of Harald’s church in 1170. Today’s cathedral was completed in 1275 after five of Absalon’s successors had contributed to its construction. As a result of Absalon’s influence, many other churches were built in the vicinity, making Roskilde the most important town in Zealand. Coins were minted there from the 11th to the 14th century.[7] In 1150, Sweyn Grathe built a moat around the city.[8] In 1151/2, a religious confraternity was founded for the defence of the town against Wendish pirates. Under the command of Wetheman, it also took part in the Wendish Crusade.[10] The Roskilde bishops owned large areas of land in the region including, from 1186, Havn on the Øresund which later became Copenhagen. By the time of the Danish Reformation in 1536, there were 12 churches and five monasteries in the city.[7]“”