Today Mariager is a small town with 2527 inhabitants (2015). It lies on the southern side of Mariager fjord. Mariager lies in Mariagerfjord kommune and belongs to Region Nordjylland.
Mariager was a small village until the middle of the 1400, when a Bridgettine abbey was built. This
made the village grow into a market town with trade and handicrafts. There was later no effect on the town from the industrialization which means that it still has a medieval touch with many pretty old houses in the paved streets.
Mariager lies close to the beautiful Mariager fjord by the forested coast of the fjord. High slopes with forest rise behind the houses. Except for the abbey and its high tower all the houses are low. It was the Bridgettines who gave the town its name when they chose to place their Jutland abbey here and named it Mariager abbey. Mariager means Maria's ager = Maria's field (after Virgin Mary).
There was already a small fishing village in the 1400s and a ferry for the traffic between the towns Randers and Aalborg, but the abbey meant economic progress for the village, and gradually flocked merchants, innkeepers and craftsmen to the town, and rich nobility began buying burial chapels by the church. Mariager abbey became a church of pilgrimage and one of few places in Denmark where people could buy indulgence for their sins. This made the church immensely rich.The pilgrims lead to a substantial revenue for the city's trade, and several guesthouses were built. The town's good times went on until the reformation in 1536, where the administration of the abbey was transferred to the Crown
The decline for Mariager meant that when it finally got municipal rights in 1592 it had under 500 inhabitants. After this it was the raw materials together with fishing, farming and foresting, which made the basis for the income of the town. An important income was malt and spirits which were shipped to Copenhagen.
Mariager got a pharmacy in 1816, and the town house was built in 1822 In 1829 a physician came to town and two years later a post office was established - in 1853 a savings bank and street lights in 1859. Mariager became service center for the hinterland and grew faster than in the abbey-period, but after the start of the Hadsund-bridge some of the trade moved to the town of Hadsund.
The old city section has kept its original street net, which forms an architectonic whole with old pavements and timbered, thatched houses, almost each house has a garden, which also gives a medieval mark. The town hall at the town square is classistic, the Hotel Postgården is from the 1700s and was earlier a vicarage, but since the 1800s it has functioned as a guest house.
|by tourist and Saltcenter|
|veteran railway site|
|by Mariager fjord|
|tourist boat Svanen|
Mariager has a long tradition for preserving the town and its houses, and it has a rich selection of special shops and grocery stores. Shipping and tourism also play a big role in the employments.
Tourism is today considered the central income of Mariager.. In 2013 Mariagerfjord Kommune with Mariager by was certificated as a Cittaslow city. Cittaslow is a movement for cities which want to set focus on a more simple lifestyle. In Denmark are two cities certifacted: Mariager in Jutland and Svendborg at the island of Funen.
Assens between Mariager and Hadsund was earlier the home of a big part of Denmarks cement industry. In the chalcerous soil in the chalk pits is one of the largest orchid presences in Denmark. The old smitty at Dania is a working museum and along the road by the fjord lie Assens Nyboder, the earlier houses of the workers from the factory.
Mariager klosterkirke was built in connection to the abbey in the 1400s. See my blog Church and Manor for article about Mariager abbey.
Source Danmarks Købstæder, Søren Olsen, 2000
photo: grethe bachmann
photo town hall: Google earth.