Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sønderborg in Sønderjylland, a Market Town and a Castle


  I sometimes forget which posts are in this blog, because I had to delete my old blog about Denmark and start a new last year, but I now see that I haven't told you about some of the southern cities of Jutland like Sønderborg and Tønder.

Well, then I'll start with a lovely day in Sønderborg in May in 2007. The harbour was a wonderful sight with lots of fine yachts and other sailing boats. There was a regatta. I love the colours in a harbour, and on such a summer day they are extra bright and beautiful. The hawthorn was blooming, one of my favorite bushes with their thousands of little white flower heads. That was summer in all its splendour.

Sønderborg castle lay there, close to the edge of the coast, imposant and heavy in the middle of all the easyness of the day. Along the circular shape of the castle run a beach road with cosy corners with benches and flowering hawthorns.The castle dates back from 1169, it was built in order to protect the Danish kingdom from the harrassing Wendic pirates, and sheltered by the castle at Als Sound and Sønderborg Bay grew up gradually a small town, which in 1461 had its municipal rights confirmed. the town became gradually an important harbour at the ferry station from Jutland to the island of Als.


Sønderborg castle is now a museum which holds archaeological collections and exhibitions about church art and the history of the city, about shipping trade and the wars in 1848, 1864 and the two world wars. In the castle is the oldest preserved church room in the North from the Renaissance. At the museum is also an art collection.

The castle is by Danes especially known from their history school book. King Christian II was imprisoned here for 17 years (1532-49), and a Danish painter immortalized a scene in a painting, where he let the king walk around a circular table in the castle, where he wore down a groove in the wood. This was all in the artist's imagination - actually the king enjoyed a good portion of freedom and was often seen in the streets of the city. So the school children later lost their illusions.

Sønderborg was like other towns in Sønderjylland and North Schleswig marked by gable houses, but much of it was destroyed under the German bombardment in 1864, and the new houses were extensively built in late classististic architecture. There are many pretty houses from the 1700s. In Sct. Mariæ church are fine woooden carvings from the 1600s.

Sønderborg, the bridge
Sønderborg is known for its yearly "Riding at the Ring"-festival which in the second week-end of July turns the city and the whole neighbourhood upside down.  In connection to the festival are held large processions with ab. 500 horsemen , riding from the castle up through the streets of the town.

Dybbøl Mølle

A few km west of Sønderborg is Dybbøl, one of the most famous places in Denmark's history with Dybbøl Banke, the church and the mill, to where the Danish army withdrew from the Preussians in 1864 to defend themselves from the primitive and unfinished entrenchments. This ended as a catastrophic defeat on 18 April. Denmark lost Sønderjylland until the Reunion in 1920. At Dybbøl are many memorials, the soldiers' graves and other memorials. Here is also a new History Center.
 A lovely place to take a rest!

A little north of Dybbøl is Nydam Mose. Here was found the Iron Age ship: Nydamsbåden, dated to ab. 320 A.D . and the oldest known rowing vessel in Northern Europe. Nydambåden is displayed at exhibition in Gottorp Castle in Schleswig.

Source: Potitikens Store Danmarksbog ; Danmarks Købstæder; Se dit land Danmark.
Photo Sønderborg 20 May 2007: grethe bachmann


Gerry Snape said...

Absolutely lovely post...once again.

Wanda..... said...

I love the beautiful clean look of the buildings with the balconies.

Thyra said...

Hej Gerry and Wanda!
Thank you! and it's lovely to see you here again.

I would like to have an apartment in one of those buildings with balconies and with that wonderful view to the harbour and the boats. If only we had nine lives like a cat!!!

Grethe ´)

Teresa Evangeline said...

I've often thought having nine lives would make it so much easier. So many wonderful places to live.

Thyra said...

Hej Teresa Evangelina!
Yes wouldn't that be loverly?? I've always wanted to be a Brit and live in the south of England, where I could find ancient gold rings in my back yard and go to the Antique Road Show! And English would then be my language instead of something I'm fighting a battle with!Or live in a sunny country with a friendly climate and no need for winter clothes, then my "wardrobe" could be summer clothes only! I think that maybe you could write a little article about having nine lives?
Grethe ´)