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Swedish Viking age city. Was during its existence situated close to today's Stockholm, capital city of Sweden. Or to be more exact; on an island called Björkö in the Lake Mälaren, West South West of Stockholm

...but first...
Much of the following information was gathered and freely translated from Swedish government funded site: www.riksantikvarieämbetet.se. To the best of my knowledge, there are no copyrights on the information. If there is, please let me know.

1200 years ago

the "Sveakungen" -- the king over a part of the later formalized Sweden -- raised a new trading post by one of the Baltic Sea's inlets. The place was named Birka and became Sweden's first proper city. Today, Birka is a popular tourist attraction and a place where the archeologists' excavations constantly provide new knowledge about the life in this former viking city.

For two hundred years

Birka was a central point of trade in Northen Europe. The city was founded in the end of the 8th century and was abandoned in the second half of the 10th century. At its most active time the city had about 1000 inhabitants. In addition, many foreigners visited the city during both shorter and longer periods of time. In the north west, on the other side of the inlet, the King's residence was situated, which he used when he visited the city along with his following.

The excavation findings has shown that the trade routes through Birka reached a long way outside Scandinavia. Arabic silver along with pearls from Eastern Europe and Russia was traded against iron and animal skins. The rich findings also tell about a society with a strong hierarchy and large differences in both social status and sex. Tradesmen, warriors, craftsmen and peasants all obayed the King. When he wasn't present himself, his rule was enforced by a governor.

As of 1993, Birka and Hovgården, the King's residence, are listed as World Heritages. You can visit Birka -- situated on an island -- by charter boat from Stockholm or any of the other cities about the Lake Mälaren and skilled archeologists are giving guided tours.

Visit it if you have the chance!

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