Ebeltoft is a small town located at the edge of Djursland. The town is the main town in the area and it has a ferry connecting the small town with Sjællands Odde on the island of Zealand making it a short cut on the trip between northern Jutland and Copenhagen. The city is the local center and during the summer time it doubles in size when the many summerhouses around the town fill up for a couple of months.
The city is an attractive little place to go and explore since there is a well preserved old town in Ebeltoft. The town dates back to around year 1200 and it got city privileges in 1302. In the center of the city you find many old buildings – the buildings are not dating all the way back to the founding of the city but many houses is a couple of hundred years old and some might be even older.
There is an old street in the center of the town which has been made into a pedestrian street. There are many old buildings along the street and many of the restaurants in the city are located along this street. There are a few other old streets leading away from the main pedestrian street. The layout of the city is very easy to navigate – you just have to go the pedestrian street and then head a bit up and down the streets next to this street.
In addition to the old buildings there are a few museums in the city and a nice little harbor with many boats in addition to the ferry port. There is a harbor for large sailing ships – which was pretty empty when we visited. The only sailing ship next to this harbor is the most famous Danish ship the old frigate Jylland.
The frigate is the last wooden ship built for the Danish navy in 1860. Back then it was the most modern ship in the new era of the industrial age. The ship had sails but in addition to the sails the ship had a steam engine so it could sail even if there was no wind. The ship was the third of a group of four ships which should form the main part of the Danish navy. But in 1862 a battle took place during the American Civil war between two armored ships the CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor. The ships fired at each other for hours but there was hardly any damaged done during the battle. This proved to the world a new era had started in naval warfare – the wooden ships were obsolete and the armored ships would dominate the seas for the future. This is why the forth wooden ship was cancelled by the Danish navy and no more wooden ships would ever be built for the navy.
The frigate Jylland did remain in service for a while since there weren’t sufficient armored ships to replace the old wooden ships. In 1864 Jylland were used in the Battle of Helgoland where the Danish navy fought the Austrian and Prussian Navy. Denmark won the battle and dominated the seas during the war – unfortunately the war was mainly fought on land and the Prussian army badly beat the Danish army. The ship remained in the navy for a while and was used for missions to the Danish West Indices Island – currently the US Virgin Islands. And for a few years towards the end of the 19th century it was used by the king as his official ship when he travelled to other parts of the Danish Kingdom like Iceland and during a visit at the Russian Zar.
In 1908 the ship was finally sold to a German scrapyard. This created a national movement for the preservation of the ship and it was quickly bought. It took many years before they had the funds to restore the ship but it was finally done and the ship was made into a museum which you can visit today.