Viborg Tourist Attractions
JutlandViborg is attractively situated on two lakes, surrounded by forests and expanses of heathland. It is one of the oldest towns in Denmark, lying in the heart of the country, at the intersection of trade routes from north, south, east and west.
There are numerous opportunities for fishing and golf in the countryside around Viborg and the town itself is a good starting point for excursions and walks, many of which follow in the footsteps of the local poet Steen Steensen Blicher. Borgvold, with the old castle mound, is now a lakeside park.Archaeological finds have shown that there was a settlement in the area of the present town around 700. The town was originally known as Wibjerg (wi is an old word for sacred, hence Wibjerg meant "sacred hill") and is thought to have been a pagan cult site; this gave rise to trading activity and thus to the development of the town. After the coming of Christianity Viborg became a religious focal point and in 1065 the see of a bishop. At this time it was the capital of Jutland, and until 1340 Danish kings were elected in Viborg. For another 300 years it remained the place where the nobles paid homage to the newly elected king. Until 1650 it was the largest town in Jutland and until 1850 the seat of the "Landsting" (provincial assembly). Between 1525 and 1529 the preacher, Hans Tausen, made Viborg a center of the Reformation. Most of the town's old buildings were destroyed by conflagrations in 1567 and 1727, and of its churches only the Cathedral (rebuilt in the 19th C.) and the Dominican church survived. Viborg is now primarily a commercial and industrial town.
The Cathedral on Skt. Mogens Gade was built in the 12th century and rebuilt between 1864 and 1876 as a copy of the original Romanesque building of granite ashlar. Only the three-aisled crypt of the original was preserved. The new church, built of brick and Swedish granite, was modeled on some of the German cathedrals and the churches of Lund and Ribe. Its most distinctive features are the twin towers with their pyramidal roofs, visible from afar. A few Romanesque sculptured stones have been incorporated into the external walls, including the two lions flanking a window in the apse.The interior is dominated by and famous for the Biblical wall-paintings which Joakim Skovgaard created between 1901 and 1906. In the side aisles are Old Testament scenes, in the transepts scenes from the life of Christ and in the choir the Resurrection and the Ascension. The ceiling paintings, in oil on mahogany, depict the Nativity, flanked by Moses and David and the Prophets. The altar is in gilt bronze.The three-aisled Romanesque crypt has 12 bays of vaulting borne on six columns and 10 semi-columns with shafts of granite.
On Gammeltorv, the square in front of the cathedral, stands the Old Town Hall of Viborg, a Baroque building by Claus Stallknecht of Altona (Hamburg), who came to Viborg to supervise rebuilding after the fire of 1726; it now houses the Skovgaard Museum. On display are sketches, paintings and sculptures by Joakim Skovgaard (1856-1933), including his preliminary sketches for the frescoes in the cathedral, as well as works by some of his relations and friends. The latter include Constantin Hansen, Johan Thomas Lundbye, Niels Larsen Stevns and Thorvald Bindesboll. Designs by 20th C. Danish artists can also be seen.
Church of the Southern Parish
To the south of the cathedralin Viborg stands the Søndre Sogns Kirke (Church of the Southern Parish), originally belonging to a Dominican monastery and dating from 1227; it was destroyed by fire in 1726 and then rebuilt. The choir and nave of the old church survive. The church has a magnificent carved and gilded Flemish Gothic altar of 1520, which originally stood in the church of Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen but was presented to the Sondersogn church by Frederik IV.
This museum is on Hjultorv (Wheel Market), in a building which was at one time the headquarters of the Heath Society, with statues of some the society's pioneers. The ancient history section of the museum displays Bronze Age artifacts, the more modern department being devoted to 16th and 17th C. commercial art. A weekly market is held on Hjultorv each Saturday.
Viborg's Nytorv (New Market), a cemetery from 1040 to 1584, is surrounded by some beautiful patrician houses, including "Stillings Gård" and the Swan Pharmacy.
On the east side of town, on the other side of the bridge across the Norreso and Sonderso, lie the remains of Asmild Church (ca. 1100), of which only the walls survive. In the late 12th C. it was given to an Augustinian nunnery which was then situated to the south of the church but of which nothing now remains. Bishop Eskild of Viborg was murdered in front of the High Altar in 1132. The gallery, with portraits of Danish kings, the carved reredos and the pulpit of 1625 are all worthy of note, as is the runic stone in the vestibule.
On Hald Lake, 8 km/5 mi southwest of Viborg, stands a manor house, Hald Hovedgård; from the Middle Ages several castles were built on this site and later pulled down. The present main building, originally a porter's lodge and carriage-house, is now used as a cultural center. Models of the old castles are displayed in a restored half-timbered barn.
South of the manor house of Hald Hovedgærd near Viborg, a marked forest path on a peninsula jutting out into the lake, amid hills, woodland and heath, offers walkers an opportunity to experience the beautiful scenery.Boats can be rented for boating purposes and fishing is also allowed in certain areas.
Near Mønsted, to the west of Viborg, lie limestone quarries from where the stone was dug nearly 1,000 years ago, sometimes for 14 hours a day. It was used in building the cathedral at Ribe, but was closed down in 1953. Visitors can inspect the tunnels, which are some 35 km/22 mi long.
The Hvolris excavation site is to be found 17 km/10.5 mi north of Viborg. Here excavations have revealed Iron Age villages and burial sites as well as Bronze Age mounds. Explanatory signs aid the visitor. Some of the finds are on display in a barn.