Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fåborg, an Idyllic Market Town on the Island Funen.

hedgerow of lilacs

Funen is the mild island in shelter of the peninsula Jutland and the island Sjælland. It is known as the land of the hedgerows, hedgerows with pollarded poplars or hedgerows with lilacs in May. The rich vigorous lansdcape forms the background of several market towns, located centrally along the coast, especially the towns Fåborg and Svendborg on the southern coast have distinguished themselves by maritime trading and shipping. But the island is also known for its manors and castles, situated more  closely than in any other part of the country.

Fåborg is one of few Danish towns which has kept a large part of the little-town look from the past with many well-kept half-timbered houses - in spite of city fires in the civil wars in the Middle Ages and Swedish wars in the 1600s. The town is encircled by a hilly landscape, Svanninge bakker, and has a beautiful view across Fåborg fjord and the Funen archipelago with several small islands. Fåborg has at present about 7.200 inhabitants.

The old market town, Faaborg, is mentioned the first time 25. June 1229 in a document in the National Archive in Paris; a gift letter, issued by Valdemar II Sejr, where he as a morning gift transfers Faaborg (and the southern Funen) to his daughter-in-law, Eleonore of Portugal, when she married his first son Valdemar the Young. He mentions the town as a borg (castle), which means that the town must have existed before that time, maybe coming into existence in the 1100s - and it was probably given its municipal rights in the beginning of the 1200s. The gift letter is used to date the town, and Fåborg could celebrate its 775 years jubilee in 2004.
The town square in the middle of the town, with a fine surrounding environment of old houses in the narrow streets, was an important trading place in the old days. In the middle of the square is the Ymer-Brønd, which is  a well and a statue of the giant Ymer and a bull, symbolizing the Genesis. The yellow bell-tower in one of the narrow streets is the landmark of Fåborg; it was built ab. 1450 and belonged to a now demolished church, Sct. Nicolai. Today it functions as a bell-tower for Helligåndskirken (Holy Spirit church) nearby. This church was originally the part of a kloster, which was demolished in 1534 in the time around the reformation. From the top of the bell-tower is a magnificent view to the pretty  hills in Svanninge bakker and o the sea south of Funen with all the small islands and a lively traffic of various ships and boats.


 Vesterport is a city-gate from the 1400s, the rest of an old fortification with banks, moats and possibly also palisades, which encircled Fåborg in the Middle Ages. It is one of two preserved city-gates in Denmark, the other gate is in the town Stege on the island Møn. Once were intentions of breaking down the gate; a neighbouring merchant was so tired of the noise from rattling horse-wagons and vociferus coachmen that he in 1806 offered to pay 100 rigsdaler to the town in order to forward the demolition. But it showed that the demolition was too expensive, and the city-council decided to keep the gate. During the 1800s it functioned as a custom house.
One of the most important sights in Fåborg is the art museum with an excellent exhition of the Funen painters. ("Fynboerne")  . The building itself is a main work in Nordic neo-classicism. The Funen painters were by the Copenhagen critics ironically named the Bondemalerne (the peasant-painters) caused by their provincial tribute to the farmland, the peasants and the cattle. In the museum is a garden with a café.

Poul Kinafarer's Gård
In the middle of the town is a picturesque storehouse, Poul Kinafarer's Gård, which  belonged to a seafaring man, Poul Jacobsen (1717-75), who had earned a fortune by China trade. There are may small museums in Fåborg, like "Den Gamle Gård" (merchants' house), which is a historical museum; a  modelship-museum  - and a quaint attraction is the old Fåborg Arresthus (gaol)  with an exhibiton about the history of  punishment.

In the archipelago south of Fåborg are 90 small islands, of which 25 are inhabited -  and ferries and post-ships sail  out to many of them, like Bjørnø, Lyø, Avernakø and Ærø. There is also a ferry to Gelting in Germany .  A bus goes to the castle "Egeskov" in the summer season.

Near town is a nature area Sundet, which was re-established in 2000. Here was originally a cove with connnection to the fjord and the sea and with a harbour, which was abandoned in ab. 1500 when the channel sanded up. In 1946 the area was drained, which meant the death of a rich animal life; there was no more place for birds like the bittern or mammals like the otter. But now is the water back, and the lake is encircled with paths. The paradise has returned for both birds and other animals - and for the public.

photo Fåborg 2004/2005: grethe bachmann


Gerry Snape said...

I love your posts and the yellow of several of the buildings is really lovely. Is this traditional? we might get a creamy yellow in east anglia but not up here in the N.W. of England. I really like it.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Love that yellow bell-tower. Yellow does seem to be a theme, which is nice. Brings a bit of sunshine. Hope you're having a good week, Grethe.

Thyra said...

Thank you Gerry! This yellow is much used. If you look at the town Skagen, there is another and lighter yellow. And in Helsingør/Elsinore. (Skagen and Helsingør on this blog too).

Maybe that's why they often choose yellow, because it gives sunshine. It's a lovely warm colour. Yes, I'm okay Teresa. I hope you are too.

Have a nice week-end both of you!

Joan said...

The buildings are beautiful Grethe. I had a elderly friend visiting the other day and together we looked at your blog. He is from denmark many years ago..and so loved reading your blog. Arohanui Joan NZ.

Marilyn said...

I have been away so am just catching up on your blog - your photos are wonderful and show a world I would love to visit. What wonderful history, New Zealand is so very young.

Thyra said...

Thank you Joan, I'm glad your friend liked it. A lovely word Arohanui - sounds soft when you say it.

Hej Marilyn, thank you so much. I hope I can go on here.
My friends have told me that New Zealand is a beautiful place - which I can see from your great pictures.


Kittie Howard said...

How did I miss this post! That creamy yellow is fabulous! Actually, how all of the colors blend is fabulous. Each different, but all together...gorgeous! Since I'm late reading this post (sorry!) I can only imagine how the Christmas lights twinkle at night, play off the soft yellows...heavenly!

Marilyn said...

Hi Grethe - I have posted some NZ birds on my blog - I thought you may like to see them.

CherylK said...

These are just wonderful photos, Grethe, and I loved reading about them. It is just amazing to me that there are two gated cities that are from the 12th century! The buildings are so beautiful. It looks as though there's part of a viking boat in the one that a piece of art?

Thyra said...

Hej Kittie! Thank you. Fåborg is really a very cosy little town. I've got another little nice town for you in the next post.

Thank you Marilyn, that's a fine collection.

Hej Cheryl, thank you. I think the Viking boat is part of the architect's design when the buildings around were designed and built. (It is an old Viking town by the sea.)
Yes the gates are interesting, it's a shame that the city walls have disappeared almost everywhere, but I guess they had to use the stones for building houses.

Grethe ´)