Tag Archives: Viking Walk

Viking Ribe. A horse sacrifice

Viking Sacrifice of horse to Norse Gods at Ribe VikingeCenter, Denmark

The Vikings in Ribe in Denmark have sacrificed a horse
The Vikings in Ribe have sacrificed a horse  . Denmark

A sacrificed horse and lamb was the shocking sight that met one of Danhostel Ribe’s visiting groups at Ribe VikingeCenter. The völva, the wise woman of the Vikings, had slaughtered the horse, skinned it and placed the hide on a long pole, so that everybody could see her big sacrifice. The blood she sprinkled on a sacred stone filled with other gifts to the gods.
Why did the völva slaughter and sacrifice the horse, and should the hostel’s guests be afraid of being the next in line?
Listen to the völva’s own explanation in this video.

Blot – a pagan rite in the Viking Era

The völva  was in the Norse Mythology supposed to have a special connection with the old gods and goddesses, the Aesir. Therefore it was also often her who carried out the pagan rites like the offerings to the gods. The “Blot” was a main rite celebrated in Heathenry. In this video the blot is a ritual sacrifice of a horse to honour the gods, followed afterwards of a feast at which the meat was eaten by the participants.

Horse sacrifice at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark
The völva has sacrificed a horse at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark

Horse and human sacrifices

To sacrifice a horse to the gods demonstrated you had great wealth, but also slaves were sacrificed, as you can see in the exhibition “The Christian Vikings” at Ribe Viking Museum  (2014 and 2015)

Master with beheaded slave. Ribe Viking Museum
Master with his beheaded and sacrificed slave. Ribe Viking Museum

Real Viking Era Horse sacrifices in Ribe

A pit with a horse sacrifice is found in the middle of a graveyard from the 700s in Ribe (next to the railroad). This indicates that this burial place was founded with a sacrifice to the Norse gods (see  link number 10).
In the summer 2014 an archaeological excavation in Ribe revealed a fully equipped warhorse from around 700 .  The archaeologists can’t say if this is a horse sacrifice, but it is unique  to find a grave with a war horse  from the Early Medieval Era  in Denmark. In the article “Viking Ribe in Viking Denmark“, you can hear the archaeologists tell about the find in the video “The discovery of a dark age horse burial in Ribe, Denmark” .

The Viling völva reading the runes at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark
The Viking wise woman, the völva, reads the runes at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark

The völva could also tell you your fortune

The völva was also a seer and a fortune-teller.  At Ribe Viking  Centre she might throw and read the runes for you, and tell you her prophecy. That was what  she did for the hostel’s photographer, listen to the völva’s prophecy for the photographer in the video in this article: The Viking wise woman was the late Middle Ages witch

Viking Places in Ribe

  • Ribe Viking Museum (Museet Ribes Vikinger).  Here you can see many of the archaeological findings from Ribe town and different special exhibitions, The Viking Museum is 0,5 km. (0,3 American miles) away from Danhostel Ribe
  • Ribe Viking Centre (Ribe VikingeCenter)  is a ‘living village’ reconstructed according to archaeological findings in Ribe town and with lots of hands-on experiences. Ribe Viking Centre is 3,2 km (2 American miles) away from the hostel
  • Ribe Viking Market takes place at Ribe VikingeCenter one week around 1st of May. See photos
  • Book a guide for a Viking Walk at the Viking Museum or walk the hostel’s self guided walking tour in Ribe
Facts about the horsehide
Facts about the horsehide
Find Danhostel Ribe på facebook
Danhostel Ribe’s facebook

Photos and video: Gudrun Rishede, Danhostel Ribe

Viking ship in Ribe River, Denmark

Viking Ribe in Viking Denmark

Viking warriors, Ribe, Denmark
Viking warriors, Ribe, Denmark

Lonely Planet has revealed the 10 best destinations in Europe 2014: “Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2014” .
The editors of the famous travel guide choose “Viking Denmark” as number 5 on their list.

Viking Family in Ribe VikingeCenter, Denmark
Viking Family in Ribe VikingeCenter, Denmark

Lonely Planet also tells its readers about the most important Viking sites in Denmark – and Ribe is of course one of them ” Viking Denmark: following the footsteps of ancient explorers

Viking ship in Ribe River outside the hostel, Denmark
Viking ship in Ribe River outside the hostel, Denmark

About Ribe town Lonely Planet writes: “The jewel in Jutland’s Viking crown is Ribe, the country’s oldest town which was founded around 700 as a Viking marketplace. This is historic Denmark at its most photogenic, all cobblestones and higgledy-piggledy houses – so pretty, it was recently voted Europe’s Best Big-Time Small Destination

Ribe in Denmark. Town Square around Ribe Cathedral
Ribe in Denmark. Town Square around Ribe Cathedral

Here is Danhostel Ribe’s self-guided walking tour of old town Ribe,  if you want to go your own way on a self guided holiday in Ribe: Ribe Old Town Walk
(Danhostel Ribe is Ribe’s hostel)

Ribe's Night Watchman - a free guided tour of old town Ribe
Ribe’s Night Watchman – a free guided tour of old town Ribe

You can also choose to join the free guided tour with Ribe’s Night Watchman every evening from 1st of May to 18th October 2014

Viking sites in Ribe

Viking woman. Ribe Viking Centre
Viking woman. Ribe Viking Centre

Ribe is also nowadays a  hive of Viking activities as it was in its Viking heyday, and your research into Ribe’s Viking Era could start at Ribe Viking Centre (Ribe VikingeCenter). The reconstructed Viking village is like a living museum with hands-on experiences.

A heathen master with his beheaded slave. Though a heathen it is from the exhibition 2014 "The Christian Vikings". Ribe Viking Museum
A heathen master with his beheaded slave. Though a heathen it is from the exhibition 2014 “The Christian Vikings”. Ribe Viking Museum

– afterwards you can continue your research by visiting the Viking Museum (Museet Ribes Vikinger) with thousands of artefacts found during  archaeological excavations in Ribe.
The special exhibition in 2014 is called ” The Christian Vikings”.

Christian Viking graves. Archaeological excavations in Ribe, Denmark
Christian Viking graves. Archaeological excavations in Ribe, Denmark

Excavations around Ribe Cathedral from 2008-2012 revealed a Christian cemetery from around 850, more than a 100 years before Denmark was officially Christianized according to the UNESCO World Heritage rune-stone of Harold Bluetooth in Jellinge.

Video: The dicovery of a dark age horse burial in Ribe, Denmark.
Much of the time archaeological excavations are going on in Ribe, and maybe you will be lucky to see one, when you visit our town. The finds from this Viking-Age period are numerous when archaeological excavations are going on in Ribe. The newest is unique and less than a week old, when a fully equipped warhorse from around 700 was found . (See the video)
Here you can read about the rune stone, that was found in Ribe: Rune stone found in Ribe

Viking Market at Ribe VikingeCenter
Viking Market at Ribe VikingeCenter

Every year the first week of May Ribe’s International Viking Market, Denmark’s most authentic Viking market is taking place at Ribe Viking Centre – don’t miss it . It’s 7 incredible days with hundreds of Vikings, craftsmen, warriors, archers, riders, jesters and many others from all over Europe

Horse sacrifice. Ribe VikingeCenter, Denmark
Horse sacrifice. Ribe VikingeCenter, Denmark

At last we will mention a Viking Walk in Ribe. You can pay for your own guide at the Viking Museum, who will take you to all the places in Ribe where the Vikings lived, worked and was buried 1300 years ago – you can also walk Danhostel Ribe’s self guided Viking Walk: Viking Walk . On this walk you will hear about horse sacrifices and if you follow our blog www.danhostel.org we will later this year tell you more about horse sacrifices and show you a video

Don’t forget to book your room at Danhostel Ribe


Danhostel Ribes‘s photographer, Gudrun Rishede, took the photos