Germany and Nordics to claim Viking towns as heritage sites

Society Materials 4 February 2008 17:33 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - A string of Baltic sites where bloodthirsty Vikings moored their longboats, hoarded slaves and booty and held off ethnic rivals are to be claimed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

The German state of Schleswig-Holstein said Monday its items for the collection would be Haithabu, which was the Viking trading capital and original site of the city of Schleswig, and the Dannevirke.

The Dannevirke, an earthen wall starting from Haithabu and stretching to the North Sea, was built by the Danes to keep out invading Saxons and Slavs and remains a symbol of Danish greatness.

The network of sites would be "authentic places of human history," said the Schleswig-Holstein premier, Peter Harry Carstensen, in Kiel.

Iceland, Denmark and Sweden would also list sites in the joint nomination to the UN cultural body.

Haithabu, now a green field next to a peaceful lagoon, has been excavated by archaeologists and the finds, including old boats and weapons from the fighting days, are shown in a site museum.