The golden age of Hedeby
Trading between North and Baltic Sea
From the 8th to the 11th centuries AD, the seafaring Vikings dominated Northern Europe. Hedeby, located on the Haddeby Noor at the western end of the Schlei inlet, was one of their most important settlements and trading centres.
Presumably built in the 8th century by Frisian merchants, Hedeby became one of the most important trading venues by the sea in Northern Europe in a short time. The Viking port town affected the political, economic and religious life at this gateway between the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Merchants from everywhere under the sun passed through here. A protective hill fort was constructed which was connected to the fortification system Danevirke.
For almost three centuries, Hedeby was the key position for turnover of merchandise between the North Sea and Baltic Sea since it was only a few kilometres to reach the North Sea on the Treene and Eider River. With the end of the Viking era in the middle of the 11th century, its functions had begun to be assumed by the nearby city of Schleswig, founded on the north shore of the Schlei.
The destruction of Hedeby
From the Viking settlement Hedeby to the Viking city of Schleswig
Around the year 1066, the area of the settlement was destroyed by West Slavic tribesmen. Even before that, many of Haithabu’s most important functions had begun to be assumed by the nearby city of Schleswig, founded on the north shore of the Schlei. Schleswig became a royal residence, the seat of a bishopric, and a centre for long-distance maritime trade.
Since the end of the 19th century, many important findings have been discovered on the large area of the former port settlement which gives evidence to the golden age of the most southern settlement of the Vikings.
At the Haddebyer Noor, the exact place where the Vikings lived around 1,000 years ago, a museum was found: the Hedeby Viking Museum. In its vicinity, you can find seven reconstructed Viking houses inviting you to a journey in the past. Here, you can immerse yourself deep in the Viking's history.
"King Sveinn placed the stone in memory of Skarði, his retainer, who travelled to the west, but who then died at Hedeby" – That's the old Danish inscription of the runestone found in the South of Busdorf in 1857. It is assumed that King Sveinn is Sweyn Forkbeard. If you want to learn about this and three other runestones a bit more, you can do so in the Hedeby Viking Museum. Reconstructions of all three runestones can also be found at their original find spots:
- Skarthi-Stone: Alte Landstraße 10, 24866 Busdorf
- Sigtrygg Runestones: Am Furt between Haddebyer and Selker Noor
- Erik-Stein: On the way from Busdorf to Selk at the campsite near Wedelspang