Ripa Town, 825 AD

Town life in Viking Age Ribe

Come meet the inhabitants

In Ripa Town you can visit the innkeeper family, who bakes fresh flatbread every day,  and when guests are staying over, they usually have a large pot simmering over the fire.

The lady of the Thing-hall keeps a watchful eye on her many children who take care of different tasks in the household. The town is also home to a shoemaker, silver smith and carpenter, but you can never tell who will be at home on a given day as the men are easily tempted by dreams of adventure and swift riches and go away for long periods of time with the town chieftain, Angantyr. The Viking women are used to handling everything by themselves. They are most definitely the "foremothers" of todays strong and independent Scandinavian women.

Professional craftsmen

Ripa (Ribe) as a place name is first found in the Life of Ansgar, put in writing around 870 AD, but we know that the settlement of the area at this time had been around for more than 150 years. Around the year 800 there was a denser settlement north of the river in connection with the marketplace, which had been used seasonally for 100 years.

Unlike the self-sufficient faming communities of the Iron Age, in Viking Ripa lived professional craftsmen who to a large extent were able to make a living by their crafts alone.

To the west, Ribe was bordered naturally by the small river and in the first half of the 9th century a two-meter wide ditch and low wall was built in a half circle to the east. This would have been a symbolic demarcation, showing that within the walls, the laws, rights and obligations of the town community were enforced. At this time there would have been no real military significance in the building of the wall. However, in the middle of the 12th century it appears that a fortification of Ribe becomes necessary and the ditch is expanded to form a proper moat.

North of Ribe River, the present day town is located in the same spot as it was in the Viking Age. New fragments of history appear every time the modern town digs into the ground to make room for basements, piping, etc., but archeological excavations are made more difficult by the surrounding buildings. As you walk through the reconstruction of Ripa Town, 825 AD in Ribe VikingeCenter, you can form your own impression of how the inn, the Ripa house, the cobbler's house, and the streets themselves would have appeared.

Get involved

Hands-on activities are never short, and in Ripa Town, 825 AD you can have a go at working at the shaving horse in the carpenter's workshop, try on a Viking cape and grind flour in the Thing-hall, or perhaps you would like to play the amusing Viking games. Check out the event calendar  for special events.