Djursland's Ancient Wonders: medieval frescoes, a runestone, and a barrow
A scenic and informative excursion through time, from the Neolithic to the Viking to the Middle Ages, through one of the loveliest landscapes in the country. Experience the largest round barrow in Denmark, and admire two medieval churches, one boasting a fascinating fresco and the other the tallest runestone in Jutland.
Guided by a Viking scholar and medievalist.
This is a countryside bus tour with three stops of 20-30 min. each:
We begin by stopping by Poskær Stenhus, the largest round barrow or Neolithic cairn in Denmark, which is something of a local "Stonehenge". The burial chamber and surrounding circle of 23 great slabs, erected some 5300 years ago, are dramatically situated, crowning a green hill and commanding a beautiful view of Djursland’s rolling countryside. While we enjoy the mystical stones and the peaceful landscape, I tell you some intriguing facts, anecdotes, theories and mysteries about this remarkable monument.
Our next stop is Rimsø Kirke: an impressive and very old, 12th-century Romanesque church, standing majestically on a ridge and overlooking the little village of Rimsø. But the church’s grounds boast three other attractions: the oldest rectory in Denmark (from 1593), a prehistoric burial mound, and the tallest runestone in Denmark. This commemorative raised stone from the 10th century AD is inscribed in Viking runes, which I show and explain to you, and you learn quite a lot about runes, runestones, and the fascinating connections with Viking Age mythology. The text on the Rimsø stone contains a secret (and quite moving) message, which we try and decipher together!
Hyllested Kirke, our third stop, is one of the finest examples of a typical early medieval Danish village church (12th-century nave and choir; the tower is late Gothic). We hear about the stories this church has to tell, and about the history of the Church in Denmark. But we spend most of our time inside gazing up at the colourful and wonderful murals on the vaulting walls, painted from c.1475 to 1520 only to be soon afterwards concealed under limewash for 450 years until finally revealed by a restauration.
This excursion can be easily extended with a walking tour of the delightful little coastal town of Ebeltoft.