Discover The Viking Town Of Birka, Sweden

Birka is a Viking Age town that was used in early medieval Sweden as one of the most significant trading posts from the Baltic Sea region. It is located 30 kilometres west of the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm, in Lake Mälaren (alternatively known in English as Lake Malar), specifically on the island of Björkö (that can be literally translated as ‘birch island’) which pertains to the municipality of Ekerö

The settlement was established in mid 8th century (sometime during the 750s), being as such the oldest known urban settlement in the Scandinavian peninsula. The town is also mentioned in medieval texts as ‘Birca’. The town of Birka alongside the site of Hovgården, situated on the nearby island of Adelsö, constitute a major archaeological complex dating back to the early Middle Ages that highlights a series of important trading networks from Viking Age Scandinavia.

A reconstructed Viking Age house in Birka. Image source:

A reconstructed Viking Age house in Birka. Image source:

In terms of its commercial importance Birka is known to have been a major trading post in Northern Europe throughout the renowned Viking era. This trading town handled goods stemming from Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and even from the Middle East. It was a key trading link towards Novgorod, the Byzantine Empire, and even the Abbasid Califate.

Small Viking Age replica vessels docked near Birka, Sweden. Image source;

Archaeological findings on the site of Birka were unearthed as early as the 19th century. Additionally, the settlement is, to date, referred to as Sweden’s oldest town and has been inducted in UNESCO’s global list of World Heritage Sites as early as 1993.

Below you can watch a 4 minute footage of the Viking Age town of Birka made by Swedish filmmakers Mikael Agaton and Lars Rengfelt:

You can also watch the following Swedish documentary on Birka focusing on the archaeological findings:

Documentation sources and external links:

Liked it? Take a second to support Victor Rouă on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

4 Responses to Discover The Viking Town Of Birka, Sweden

  1. Constance Jepson says:

    Birkby and Birker Moor in Cumbria. Birks is a common surname.

  2. Walter Fasse says:

    We was there in 2015. It’s a nice resort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.