Brattahlíð

BRATTAHLÍÐ
Brattahlíð was Erik the Red's estate in the Viking colony he established on south western Greenland at the end of the 10th century. Brattahlíð probably had the first church in the New World. A reconstruction of this chapel now stands near the original site, along with a replica of a Viking longhouse.

The ruins of Brattahlíð can be found in the town of Qassiarsuk. It is an important place in Norse history: the first Viking settlement on Greenland, meaning it was technically the first town in America founded by Europeans.

The Vikings were aware of inhospitable land that today is known as Greenland, but it was not settled until the late 10th century. In 982 Erik The Red, on a 3 year exile from Iceland, settled in the Southern coast of Greenland and built his farm: Brattahlíð. When Erik later returned to Iceland, it was to find more people to settle Greenland.

Meet Edda Lyberth at Brattahlíð and hear her exciting histories about the Vikings, like  the strong-minded woman Tjodhilde. Tjodhilde’s husband, Erik the Red was the first European to set foot in Greenland. Their son, Leif Eriksson, was the first European to make landfall in North America, some 500 years before Columbus, and brought Christianity to the Viking community in Greenland by order of the Norweigan king Olav Tryggvason. Today a statue of Leif Eriksson overlooks Qassiarsuk from a hill. Tjodhilde herself, also achieved remarkable feats: she was behind the construction of the first Christian church on the North American continent in Brattahlíð, and converted her pagan husband to Christianity.

The disappearance of the Viking settlements toward the end of the 15th century puzzles historians, but was likely the result of a combination of the climate changes due to the Little Ice Age, Inuit expansion and more convenient ways for Europeans to obtain furs and competition by the Hanseatic League.

Aside from the church archaeological excavations have revealed remnants of a fairly well preserved longhouse at the site.

Street address: 
Qassiarsuk, Greenland
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Destination Viking is a new travel experience concept. Partners from a number of countries have come together to develop a borderless tourism destination focusing on the Viking world.

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