MORE than a thousand years since the Vikings’ unrivalled boat building allowed them to start travelling across Europe tourists are now being encouraged to follow their journeys.
And a famous tourist attraction in Yorkshire is at the heart of this new international effort to “Follow the Vikings”.
York’s Jorvik Viking Centre has joined forces with other attractions from Dublin to Denmark as part of a four year project which will receive almost £2m European Union funding.
The programme will include an international touring roadshow which will visit 12 key Viking locations including the Jorvik Centre in February 2019.
This will include demonstrations of Viking crafts, games, and sshows combining drama, poetry, stories, music and dance as well as battle re-enactments.
The centre will also host a final conference at the end of the programme to discuss the impact of the Viking world.
Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, which owns and manage the Jorvik Viking Centre said: “We are extremely excited about playing a key role in this project.
“We will be hosting a conference and one of the roadshows in York as part of the project and, as such, we are very keen to attract visitors from around the Viking world to the city to understand that very important part that York played in this era of Europe’s history.”
The Follow the Vikings project has 25 partners across 13 different countries. She said she hoped it would encourage people to travel around Europe visiting Viking sites.
“The Vikings have left their mark on many European nations, not just in Scandinavia and the UK. This large geographical spread allows the partner organisations to showcase just how much the Vikings influenced European culture in unique ways, tempting visitors from across Europe to visit as many events as possible.
“Education is an important part of the project. Each event will have a learning-focus, be it Viking crafts, battle tactics or mythology. One of the main aims of the ‘Follow the Vikings’ projects is to foster life-long learning and Jorvik’s contribution will have this at its heart, from school-age children to over 60s – there will be something for everyone to take away.
“There will be six conferences in total during the project, not all of which will have a purely academic focus, and the majority will be pitched to the general audience, no previous knowledge of the Viking period will be required to enjoy these events.”
The overall project is being led by the Shetland Amnesty Trust. It aims to celebrate Viking heritage throughout Europe. Funding will be used to run projects to train volunteers and a new website is being created.
Organisers hope all of this will raise the visibility of the Council of Europe’s Viking Cultural Route, which is managed by the Destination Viking Association, of which Jorvik Viking Centre is a member.
There are around 50 sites on the route including examples of forts, towns, farms, quarries, ships, objects, museums, archaeological remains and reconstructed longhouses.
Shetland Amenity Trust’s general manager, Jimmy Moncrieff, who is the chairman of the association said: “I am absolutely delighted that the trust has been successful in securing this funding on behalf of our Viking colleagues.