Rosala Viking Centre
Rosala, Kemiönsaari (Finland Proper region), FINLAND
Rosala is an island located in the middle of the beautiful Turku archipelago about 25 km from Hanko and 18 km from the most southern inhabited place in Finland, the Bengtskär lighthouse. Rosala, which is about 140/170 year-round residents, is linked to the neighbouring island Hiittinen by the Kyrkesund bridge and belongs to the Kemiönsaari municipality.
A thousand years ago the Vikings travelled along the so-called "Eastern Route" to the huge market places in Russia. The route passed the outer archipelago and the Kyrksundet, the narrow sound between Hitis and Rosala, which was called Örsund and was an important port and market place on the Eastern Route. Now the Viking past and Iron age of the archipelago come to life in the Rosala Viking Centre, a museum that among other things is presenting the archaeological findings from the former Örsund and has both an indoor and an outdoor museum area illustrating how Viking Age life must have been like.
The exhibitions illustrate Viking clothes, jewellery, handicraft, trade products, musical instruments and other objects of the period, both as original artefacts and authentic reconstructions. A miniature model follows the life of a Viking and presents his relationship with his gods. The diorama is illustrated by beautiful paintings of the myths. In the auditorium there are illustrations and presentations of the Nordic mythology of the Viking age.
The outdoor site consists among others of the chieftain hall “Rodeborg”, focus of worldly and religious leadership. A reconstruction of an 11th century (early) Christian chapel can be visited as well, with an altar dedicated to the Holy Mary and an altar picture showing the majestic Christ on His throne in heaven. Besides these buildings, there is a smithy, a field labyrinth, a sacrificial stone and finally a Viking merchant’s house by the name of Farmansgården. In the Viking village in a separate exhibition building Viking weapons and warfare are on a permanent display, including swards, small daggers, spears, axes, bows and arrows. Viking arrows have specially designed flights for every task from killing men to catching fish. Another building houses an exhibition that presents Viking Age handicraft and musical instruments.
In the Viking houses, reconstructed according to near archaeological excavations, the guests can experience daily life, work and entertainment of the Vikings, their women and children. There is also an archaeological test site to teach visitors about the original findings and how they were made. The Rosala Viking Centre provides the visitors with the chance to take part at several live-in activities such as field labyrinth, axe-throwing, sacrificial feast, the homecoming of the Viking chieftain, rowing out to sea on faithful replicas of Viking ships and a variety of time travel activities for schools and children. Finally, the visitors can also enjoy a visit at the Café Windrose with souvenirs such as post cards, handicraft, Viking style jewellery and books along with cafeteria services. On pre-order it’s also possible to arrange Viking style dinners and celebrations.
A replica of the first and only rune stone fragment found in Finland, only 10 km from the Viking Centre, can be found in this exhibition as well. This rune stone fragment was found in a strait, near a bridge, where it was in the way for the landowner who decided to remove it, and hence discovered the runes. Divers have not been able to find any other pieces of the rune stone in the surrounding waters. With this in mind, scientists believe that this fragment got there as ballast on a ship or perhaps on a sled that went through the ice. As long as no other pieces are found, it is impossible to determine where it was originally raised and why.
Every year in july the Rosala Viking Centre is home to a living history event, the Viking Market. The Viking Centre will be visited by Vikings living in the Viking village, presenting themselves and different kinds of Viking age crafts and activities which are also open to the public to join, like Viking axe throwing, archery and baking bread among the others (to find out more please visit our dedicated page, click here).
Info & Contact
Rosala Viking Centre
Address: Reimarsvägen 5, 25950 Rosala - Kimitoön municipality (Kemiönsaari), Finland
Tel.: +358 24667227 | Fax: +358 24667228
Image: Rosala Viking Centre
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Exploring the Rosala Viking Centre:
An amazing winter day at the Viking village: