With little over a week to go until the world will find out if the prediction of Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse, will come true, Viking warriors have started to arrive in York to celebrate the city’s Scandinavian heritage.
The 30th JORVIK Viking Festival, taking place in the city until February 23, sees the first Vikings set up camp – including a Viking longship kitted out for war – in Coppergate ready to welcome guests from 10am today.
During the first weekend of the festival, a Saxon encampment, at the Eye of York will also be in place.
Throughout the week, Viking warriors will be offering advice and guidance on how to prepare for the ultimate battle, with have-a-go sword combat sessions for younger Vikings each day at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.
There will also be candlelit story telling and archaeology lectures and other events.
The culmination of the festival takes place on February 22. Around 300 Viking warriors will muster in Dean’s Park, adjacent to York Minster, for a march through the city streets from 1.30pm, and as the sun sets at 6.45pm the troops will mass at the Eye of York for Ragnarok: Battle Spectacular Finale, which features thrilling live battle action, sound and light effects.
Festival director Danielle Daglan said: “The eyes of the world’s media are set to be on York on the evening of February 22 as our countdown to Ragnarok comes to an end, and if the prediction does come true, we are determined to go out with a bang.
“The legend of Ragnarok tells of the fall of the Norse gods and the birth of a new world, but, of course, if we wake up to the same old world on the morning of Sunday, February 23, we’ll have no regrets – our celebrations also mark Jolablot, the Viking feast to hail the coming of spring, which to many people is the annual rebirth of the world!”
Full details of all the events can be found at the website: www.jorvik-viking-festival.co.uk