Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jelling Stones (pronounced 'yelling', not 'jelling')

Ed and I have finally started to venture outside of the woods surrounding our house and into the rest of Denmark.  First stop, Jelling, Denmark...home to "Denmark's Birth Certificate" in the form of a large rune stone from over 1000 years ago.   I am not going to give a history lesson here but I will say that the history surrounding King Gorm & 'Bluetooth' is quite interesting.  This weekend, we had a streak of solskinsvejr (sunshine of my favorite danish words) so we decided to set out for a site we had learned about in class.  We left home at around 3 pm and were a bit worried that by the time we arrived, the sun would have already set.   It ended up taking just 35 minutes to get there so we had plenty of time to enjoy the sites while the sun was still out. 
remember this picturesque view for the end of the post...
 So basically (this is highly abbreviated and may or may not be entirely accurate), the 2 mounds that are on either side of the church are a nordic pegan burial site that was built by King Gorm, the first recorded king of Denmark.  His son Herald (Bluetooth) introduced Christianity to Denmark and built the church and added this stone that says

"King Harald bade this monument be made in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra his mother, that Harald who won for himself all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians"--this is the birth certificate.  Herald left the burial mounds as a tribute to his parents who were possibly buried here.  King Gorm's body was possibly moved from the mound burial chamber to a crypt in the church at some point in time...or not..I was a little unclear on this portion of the history so with that, I will stop. 

There is a 2nd, smaller stone that was from King Gorm himself--a tribute to his wife "King Gorm made this monument in memory of Thyra, his wife, Denmark's adornment" 

View from top of one mound
I think this picture shows a pretty good representation of a Danish cemetery. I think they are quite beautiful with all the different bushes, trees and shrubs that seem to divide the burial plots.

I included a shot of the interior which clearly has been updated in recent times.  To celebrate Denmark's millennium, they added some new floors, pews, lights....I personally think the update should have matched what the church may have looked like when built in 1100 A.D. but who am I to question Danish design....

There is a museum across the street that we went to after walking around. Just before we went inside, the weather looked like this:

In the time it took us to cross the street, go inside the museum, walk up a flight of stairs and start reading, it became intensely foggy outside. It was literally a matter of minutes. I looked out a window overlooking the church after reaching the main part of the museum and it looked foggy..I thought it was the glass, tinting maybe, until we left and it looked like this

 It was unbelievable! I could not get over how foggy it was. Ed gave me the scientific reason that fog can develop so quickly...something about the dew point...but all I could think about was how weird it seemed.  Weird and disorienting.  I even had motion sickness as we headed home...good think the pilot who is not prone to motion sickness in was driving :)

The car is out there somewhere
Remember this shot from the beginning of the post?? night and day difference
Jelling, Denmark

This post is about our own experience here but if you are inspired to visit yourself, the museum did happen to be free...Danish 'tax-kroners' at work??


  1. Uhh - I see they places the stones in a glass covering? I don't remember that from when we visited in 2009 (and photos confirm that)!

  2. Yeah, I gathered that it was a recent addition. All the pictures online show the stones without glass

  3. The glass covering is to protect the two stones from the elements and people. There was a vandal who painted the stones last year which set in motion the work to protect the stones more than they were before.

  4. Heidi the pictures are incredible!!! I think the good Lord brought the fog in just for those incredible shots!!!