The city named after a fortress

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On the southern coast of Skåne you find a town with the name Trelleborg. This is a bit of a strange name for a city which is founded in 13th century – since the name originate from the Viking age and was used to describe some very particular round fortress which were built across the Danish kingdom around 980. The fortresses were built by the Danish King Harald Bluetooth – yup he was very forward thinking so he gave his nickname to the 21th century invention of Bluetooth.

The palisade and gate into the recreated ring fortress

This kind of ring fortresses was called trelleborge and there was several of these spread across the kingdom of Harald Bluetooth. Actually there are a total of 7 known fortress of this kind which were in use for a few years at the end of the 10th century. One of these 7 trelleborge was actually built right here at the southern coast of Sweden. The fortress only stood for a short while and by the 13th century it was long gone. But the name stuck around – the locals told stories about the old fortress there used to be here – and when they had to name the new settlement here at the coast they used the old name. Trelleborg. So today the old fortress live on in one of the biggest cities along the southern coast of Skåne.

The old fortress was forgotten for the next several hundred years but then during the 19th century a new feel of national identity came to Scandinavia. The Viking era suddenly became something which became considered national pride and a central part of the Scandinavian identity. The interest in the old history was sparked and suddenly there was a wish to know more about the old history. This new interest in history meant there were a search of ancient artifacts and the remains of ancient buildings. This led to the excavation of several of the ancient ring fortress – one of them right here at Trelleborg.

The entrance gate

The fortress has been partly recreated and you can see part of the ring wall which used to surround the fortress back a bit over a millennium ago. You can go in and walk around the area for free and see the old wall and one of the entrance gates to the fortress. There is a little museum at the location as well where they tell a bit of the history of the fortress and have a bit on display of what they have found at the location when they did the excavation of the sight.

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