Northern Europe is a roller coaster ride with many tight turns and steep slopes. In a dramatically shifting manner, you visit history in different shades, and no, not everything is grey! One prismatic episode is that of Vikings; the 8th-century Norse humans who travelled towards Greenland, Iceland and Vinland and traded and raided across Europe. Which is why on my first trip to Norway, I categorically decided to explore primordial Fjords and timeless Viking Heritage. Eventually, the quest delightedly landed me at the Viking Museum in Oslo.
It’s one thing to read Viking stories or watch movies detailing a Viking saga; another to visit a museum that lets you behold the fragments of history in person. When I arrived at the venue, I was surprised by the entrance marked by, an abounding rose garden. Not something I was expecting! The persona of this simple space was enriched by the sounds of many chirping birds in the background. Accompanied by concords, the chirping birds indicated communication, I’d remember forever. I took time out to sit and listen to the tweeting and smelling the roses. Afterwards, I began to wander around the open space, when a large board narrating Viking culture piqued my interest. Taking the opportunity, my Norweigan tour guide moved closer to give me a comprehensive tour of the board in English. She beautifully enlighted me with the historical, cultural and contemporary heritage of the Vikings, as listed on the board.
Following which, we walked towards the statues of the late Anne and Helge Ingstad on our right. While Anne Ingstad was a Norwegian archaeologist, her husband was a Norwegian explorer. Together, they discovered the remnants of a Viking settlement at L’Anse Aux Meadows in 1960. They also demonstrated how the Norsemen found a way to travel across to North America, before Columbus and Cabot. Hence it’s only fair that the entrance to the museum is marked, by the statues of people who contributed the max to investigating the history of the Vikings. From here, a cobbled path leads to the 100-year old Viking museum which is a long and narrow resurrection centre from inside.
Perched on Bygdøy peninsula, the remarkable Viking museum houses three burial, Viking ships. Along with that, the museum also has a collection of ancient artefacts, on display, along with the samples of marine engineering recovered with the ships. While here, I learnt that a bunch of archaeologists found Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune, the burial ships at the Oseberg Fjord about a century ago. A museum was then established to preserve these significant historic treasures.
Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune are diversified boat-types, which were built depending on their purpose. Each of these boats looks flexible and slender, with uniform ends accompanied by the true keel. Back in the era, these silken longships were put into service as a perfect sail of the Royal vessels. Although their contribution, to the advancement in ship technology, is what made these boats famous. The technology allowed these sleek ships to sail 20-inch waters. Which worked wonders for Viking who were a dominant force of trade, warfare and politics, back then. At the Viking Ship Museum, these longships are placed in subjoined rooms with no doors. For that reason, the interiors appear longer. As I walked from one room to another, I could see why Viking ships were a perfect example for all. From a unique structure to a distinctive hull, these marine vessels sure dominated the craftsmanship section.
Of all the three ships, Oseberg alone is 71 ft long and 17 ft wide. The well-preserved, 9th-century, Gokstad and Tune are comparatively smaller. On the other hand, the artefacts recovered with the ship are kept, in separate glass compartments. A short stroll around these glass boxes revealed different types of tools, miniature boats, sledges, silver coins, ornamented cart and other valuable objects from the medieval era.
The price to visit this museum is 11 EUR per adult, however, this fee covers both the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian ethnographic collection of the cultural history. The Norwegian ethnographic collection features Mummies and the antiques. The validity of this offer stands at 48 hours.