Our UNESCO world heritage
Viking Age settlement of Hedeby and Danewerk border rampart
The Danewerk and the early urban marketplace of Hedeby in Northern Schleswig-Holstein are two of the most significant pieces of archaeological evidence in Northern Europe. Man-made structures and a contemporary natural landscape were inseparably combined with the unique geographical situation here. Today (since June 2018), this landscape has been rated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, many people in Northern Europe crossed the ocean as Vikings - robbers, merchants and conquerors. One of their most important settlements and trade centres was the seaport Hedeby on the River Schlei.
The Danewerk (Danevirke in Danish), which at that time controlled the Southern border of Denmark and the key trade route between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, acted as the rampart and defensive wall of the settlement. It is worth a visit to this former fortification and current World Heritage site. Above all, the 80m long section of the Waldemars Wall which is still visible today, found outdoors as part of the embankment on which the brick wall stands (3.5 kilometres long in total) is a very imposing sight.
The Danewerk ramparts connected the maritime trade centre of Hedeby on the River Schlei with Hollingstedt and the River Treene on its way to the North Sea. In addition, the Danewerk possessed a gate which merchants and travellers could pass through, making it a kind of ‘gateway between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea’. Visitors can find further information on this topic in the Danewerk Museum in the municipality of Dannewerk, where you can also see the Waldemars Wall.
Over the course of time, Hedeby was attacked again and again by enemies and became less important as a trade centre. In 1066, the Slavs succeeded in destroying Hedeby and burned down the town, which was then abandoned. Today, the famous Hedeby Viking Museum commemorates this period. Within walking distance of the museum, a reconstructed section of the commercial metropolis, with seven houses true to the originals, allows you to relive the Viking Age.
During conflicts between Germany and Denmark in the nineteenth century, the Danewerk was constructed afresh after the Viking period as a defensive wall. If you walk through the archaeological park, you can also visit one of the redoubts - the so-called Redoubt 14 next to the main wall.
For more detailed archaeologic information you can click here.