Although it’s smaller than the better-known Trelleborg in Zealand, the thousand-year-old Fyrkat ring fortress so closely resembles Trelleborg that both compounds are presumed to have been built by the Viking king Harald Bluetooth around 980. Fyrkat was excavated by archaeologists in the 1950s, but its function remains a mystery – it may have been a regional power centre or barracks.
Today, as you walk out onto the grass-covered 3m-high circular ramparts, you can absorb the fort’s impressive symmetrical design and note the four cuts in its earthen walls, formerly imposing gates that faced the four points of the compass.
Within the rampart walls the fortress was divided into four quadrants, each with a central courtyard surrounded by four symmetrical buildings, which housed the inhabitants of Fyrkat (evidence indicates that 800 Vikings and their families lived within the fort). Stone foundation blocks show the outline of these elongated buildings.
Although no structures remain within the ramparts, just outside is a replica Viking longhouse built of oak timbers utilising a stave-style construction technique. At the entrance to Fyrkat there are some period farm buildings, including a 200-year-old working water mill.
Fyrkat is 3km southwest of Hobro’s town centre via Fyrkatvej, in a lovely rural setting. There is no bus service.