Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Medieval Ribe

As you might be able to tell, I'm trying to get through all of Denmark before Christmas because, well, at that thought of spending Christmas in the warmness of snowless Texas, Matt & I decided to flee, not just the state, but the country. We're spending Christmas here this year, going to a Christmas Eve Mass here, and are pretty much planning on having the best Christmas ever.

So, because of the short time frame, I'm going to bombard you with Denmark over the next few days. And I hope you like it.

We spent a day in Ribe, which bills itself as the oldest town in Denmark (since 854 AD!). It's rather small, and, in fact, we both got fairly bored by the end of the day since there wasn't much in the way of big attractions to see, but, like Inish Meain in Ireland, I remember Ribe with great fondness, and it was visually the most stunning place in Denmark we visited. It's cathedral, pictured above, was particularly fantastic, and of all the boring Denmark churches we saw, the Ribe Cathedral was by far the best.

I loved the bronze door and stone archway. The colors of this church and all of Ribe were incredibly vivid.

And we were lucky enough to have wonderful weather most of the day, including a crisp, blue sky, perfect for climbing the tall bell tower (with 248 steps) for an incredible view of Ribe and the surrounding countryside.

There were several stops along the way with tiny rooms and various caverns to walk through on the way to the top.

The climb (and the 20 DKK) were well worth the view and exhilarating experience of being able to see miles of the Danish countryside.

The above shot is one of my favorites from the entire trip. The house near the bottom of the picture is where we stayed, and the shadow on the pillar is my hair whipping around in the wind. I'm quite proud of this shot. Again, the colors! They amaze me.

Here are a couple of shots from the interior. Above is the amazing organ inside the church, and below is the entrance to the stairs leading up to the organ.

The area of Ribe surrounding the cathedral was the "old" part of the town dating back to the Medieval period. All of the houses were very colorful, well preserved, and absolutely gorgeous.

This picture I posted a couple of months ago is also from Ribe. Denmark definitely made me fall madly in love with yellow.

One of my favorite features of Ribe houses were the house numbers. Many houses had a pot or other piece of pottery next to their door holding flowers. How lovely and charming.

Also in Ribe were some castle ruins (quite literally...there wasn't much left except for a few walls and some steps), and a monument to Queen Dagmar, whom the Danes love.

She was a Danish queen in the early 13th century and died shortly after she became queen during childbirth.

Oh, the colors of Denmark. This is why I have very few black & white pictures from Denmark. Seriously, why ruin the beautiful colors!

Ribe, while boring near the end of the day, was the place in Denmark that has stayed with me more than anyplace else in the country. I am very fond of my memories of the one day we spent there, and I think the oldness of Ribe is what struck me the most. It's apparent in most of the city and has an energy all its own. I think that's why I always crave visiting old cities and countries in Europe, to feel of the ancient energy that's been present and thriving for centuries and centuries.


  1. You do take beautiful pictures. I love the house number pot. So pretty.

  2. I really like the last picture, the sign. Those really are beautiful colors! Your posts make me remember the nice things about living here.