World Heritage Photos

Birka and Hovgården

Birka and Hovgården: Hovgården is an archaeological site situated on Adelsö Island in Lake Mälaren, 31 km west of Stockholm. A thousand years ago a mighty house ruled over Hovgården, from here a Viking king also ruled over his trading town of Birka, situated on the neighbouring Björkö Island. In 1270, the Swedish king Valdemar Birgersson had built Alsnöhus on Hovgården. Alsnöhus was a splendid brick building, intended only for official occasions. It was here in 1279, that the council meeting was held at which the feudal system of Sweden was given shape. During unrest at the end of the 14th century, Alsnöhus was attacked and destroyed. Hovgården eventually lost the status as a royal domain. Birka is an archaeological site situated on Björkö Island in Lake Mälaren. Birka was founded around 790. Birka was a Viking trading town during the 8th-10th centuries. During this time, Birka was one of the most dominant trading towns of the northern world, which extended from Russia in the east to Ireland in the west. Birka began to lose its importance in the 970s or 980s. Birka was probably abandoned in the 10th century. The most visible remains from the Vikings are a rune stone at Hovgården on Adelsö Island and the more than two thousand burial mounds scattered all over Björkö Island. The earliest known Christian congregation in Sweden was founded in the town of Birka by St. Ansgar in 831. The viking settlements of Birka and Hovgården gained the status as an UNESCO World Heritage in 1993. Two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Stockholm are: Drottningholm Palace and Skogskyrkogården.

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Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The reconstructed Viking harbour near the Viking town of Birka. Birka and Hovgården are archaeological sites with...

Birka and Hovgården: The reconstructed Viking harbour near the Viking town of Birka. Birka and Hovgården are archaeological sites with the remains from the Viking Age. The archaeological site Hovgården is siuated on Adelsö Island in Lake Mälaren. From Hovgården a Viking king ruled over his trading town of Birka, situated on the neighbouring Björkö Island. Birka and Hovgården were declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1993.  

  1. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The reconstructed Viking harbour near the Viking town of Birka. Birka and Hovgården are archaeological sites with...

    Birka and Hovgården: The reconstructed Viking harbour near the Viking town of Birka. Birka and Hovgården are archaeological sites with the remains from the Viking Age. The archaeological site Hovgården is siuated on Adelsö Island in Lake Mälaren. From Hovgården a Viking king ruled over his trading town of Birka, situated on the neighbouring Björkö Island. Birka and Hovgården were declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1993.  

  2. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The remains of Alsnöhus at Hovgården, the steeple of the Adelsö Church in the...

    Birka and Hovgården: The remains of Alsnöhus at Hovgården, the steeple of the Adelsö Church in the background. Only a few brick foundation stones remain of palace Alsnöhus at Hovgården. Hovgården is situated on Adelsö Island in Lake Mälaren, 31 km west of Stockholm. More than a thousand years ago mighty Viking kings ruled over Hovgården, from Adelsö Island the Viking kings also ruled over the trading town of Birka, situated on the neighbouring Björkö Island. 

  3. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The royal hall of the Viking period was located on this terrace where the ruins of Alsnöhus now stands....

    Birka and Hovgården: The royal hall of the Viking period was located on this terrace where the ruins of Alsnöhus now stands. Alsnöhus is situated near Hovgården on Adelsö Island. Around the royal Alsnöhus terraces were built for other buildings. Hovgården is an archaeological site and part of the UNESCO World Heritage: Birka and Hovgården. Birka and Hovgården are both archaeological sites with the remains from the Viking Age.

  4. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The Swedish King Valdemar Birgersson had erected Alsnöhus in 1270. Alsnöhus was a brick building,...

    Birka and Hovgården: The Swedish King Valdemar Birgersson had erected Alsnöhus in 1270. Alsnöhus was a brick building, intended only for official occasions. It was here at Alsnöhus in 1279, that the council meeting took place at which the Swedish feudal system was given shape. At the end of the 14th century, Alsnöhus was attacked and burned to the ground. Now, only the remains of the foundations are visible. Alsnöhus is situated near Hovgården on Adelsö Island.

  5. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: This burial mound dating back to the Viking period has long been known as Skopintull. The remains of two...

    Birka and Hovgården: This burial mound dating back to the Viking period has long been known as Skopintull. The remains of two cremated persons were found in this grave. The remains of valuable objects and several bones of hunting birds confirm that Skopintull is a royal grave. Skopintull is situated nearby Hovgården on Adelsö Island. There are another three large Viking burial mounds near Hovgården, known as the Barrows of the Kings.

  6. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The Hacon Stone runestone, situated on Adelsö Island near the remains of a harbour from the Viking Age....

    Birka and Hovgården: The Hacon Stone runestone, situated on Adelsö Island near the remains of a harbour from the Viking Age. The text on the runestone is probably from the later part of the 11th century. Interpretation of the writing on the runestone: 'Decipher the runes! Rightly did Tollir, foreman in Roden, have them engraved for the king. Tollir and Gylla, husband and wife had these runes engraved in memory of themselves. Håkon ordered the engravings'.

  7. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The town of Birka is situated on Björkö Island in Lake Mälaren. Birka was...

    Birka and Hovgården: The town of Birka is situated on Björkö Island in Lake Mälaren. Birka was founded around 790. Birka was a Viking trading town during the 8th-10th centuries, during this time Birka was one of the most dominant trading towns of the northern world, which extended from Russia in the east to Ireland in the west. The town of Birka was probably abandoned in the 10th century. Birka is part of the archaeological site Birka and Hovgården.

  8. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: A guide dressed up in Viking costume, the guide gave a good presentation of the Viking remains of...

    Birka and Hovgården: A guide dressed up in Viking costume, the guide gave a good presentation of the Viking remains of the Viking town of Birka, without the guide it would have been difficult to understand anything about the Viking town of Birka, because most of the remains are buried in the terrain. The guide also told us: Vikings did not have horns on their helmets. None of the found Viking helmets have horns. It is a fictitious concept of writers and filmmakers.

  9. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The remains of the ramparts of the hill fort of the Viking town of Birka. The security of Birka was ensured...

    Birka and Hovgården: The remains of the ramparts of the hill fort of the Viking town of Birka. The security of Birka was ensured by a palisade, a hill fort and a rampart. The hill fort was used as a refuge in times of danger. Birka is situated on the western part of the Björkö Island. Now, Birka is visible through the remains of its hillfort, the remains of the town rampart and more than 2000 Viking burial mounds. 

  10. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The remains of Birka. The Viking trading town of Birka was laid out according to a set plan. The ground was...

    Birka and Hovgården: The remains of Birka. The Viking trading town of Birka was laid out according to a set plan. The ground was divided into plots separated by narrow alleys running down to the shore and the jetties. This ground plan was retained until Birka was abandoned in the 10th century. With Birka the idea of a town first entered the agrarian Mälaren Valley and an urban culture began to take shape. Birka is considered to be the first town in Sweden.

  11. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The Viking burial mounds on Björkö Island. The most visible remains from the Viking...

    Birka and Hovgården: The Viking burial mounds on Björkö Island. The most visible remains from the Viking Age are the more than two thousand burial mounds scattered all over Björkö Island. Most of the remains found in the burial mounds of Birka are on display in the Historic Museum in Stockholm. The archaeological sites of Birka and Hovgården are situated about 31 km west of Stockholm. 

  12. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: A reconstructed Viking house nearby Birka on Björkö Island. On Björkö Island is also a...

    Birka and Hovgården: A reconstructed Viking house nearby Birka on Björkö Island. On Björkö Island is also a small reconstructed Viking town and a reconstructed Viking harbour. Birka was an important Viking trading town, it was founded around 790 AD at the convergence of several important waterways. Birka is part of the UNESCO World Heritage: Birka and Hovgården.

  13. Birka and Hovgården - The Birka Museum on Björkö Island houses a small model of the Viking trading town of Birka. Birka is situated...

    The Birka Museum on Björkö Island houses a small model of the Viking trading town of Birka. Birka is situated on Björkö Island in Lake Mälaren, the third-largest lake in Sweden. During the 8th-10th centuries, Birka was one of the most dominant trading towns of the northern world. The town of Birka began to lose its importance in the 970s or 980s. The archaeological sites of Birka and Hovgården gained the status as an UNESCO World Heritage in 1993. 

  14. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården are archaeological sites with the remains from the Viking Age. The most visible remains from the Vikings Age...

    Birka and Hovgården are archaeological sites with the remains from the Viking Age. The most visible remains from the Vikings Age are the Hacon Stone runestone at Hovgården on Adelsö Island and the more than two thousand Viking burial mounds scattered all over Björkö Island. Nowadays, sheep are grazing on the Viking burial mounds. Birka and Hovgården gained the status as an UNESCO World Heritage in 1993.  

  15. Birka and Hovgården - Birka and Hovgården: The Ansgar Cross near Birka on Björkö Island in Lake Mälaren. Birka is also important as the site...

    Birka and Hovgården: The Ansgar Cross near Birka on Björkö Island in Lake Mälaren. Birka is also important as the site of the first known Christian congregation in Sweden, founded by the German monk Saint Ansgar in 831. The Ansgar Cross was erected on Borgberget Hill in 1834, a thousand years after Saint Ansgar visited Birka. The Saint Ansgar chapel was built in 1937, the chapel is situated east of the town of Birka.