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Bjørkedal and the Viking Heritage

Surrounded by mountains, Bjørkedal is a village spread in a circle around the lake. Besides its extreme beauty, Bjørkedal is famous for its boatbuilders. The vikingship-replicas in the national museums were built here.

The oldest of the boatbuilders can still remember the times when 27 small factories were active.

Jakob Helset was part of building the Myklebustskip. The tallest longship in the world. He is the oldest of the boatbuilders in Bjørkedal, and one of the few still keeping the Unesco-listed tradition alive.

Since the viking times, wooden boats were built here. The olivine pineforest, now also a red-listed Unesco heritage, makes a perfect strong material for building. On the coast the forests were mostly extinguished already 1000 years ago.

To this comes the fact that Bjørkedal used to be a perfect hidingplace for the viking-kings when they were in war. Only for the last hundred years or so, did we get roads in here. So in winters the place was almost impossible to enter, and not without being detected long time ahead.

Due to this, the people in Bjørkedal were quite wealthy. Already back in 1500, the farmers here could read and write.

Noble people married here, and in Moritsgarden around 16oo lived the most famous, Anne Moritsdotter.

We own the oldest printed norwegian book, and also an even older Calendarium Historicum printed in Wittenberg 1550. The most strange book in Moritsgarden is a "doctorsbook" which is a more safe word to use than shamanic medicine and witchcraft, dating back to 1700.

The land on which Moritsgarden is standing today, was once a huge vikingcemetary. The buildings were moved from a compond in 1874. But the house feels very good to live in. There is a warm soul and peace around now. And people feel healthier, healed and sleep better after some days in Moritsgarden. A real powerplace. And by the way, the norwegian language has to words for power; "makt" and "kraft". The house gives you "kraft" to take "makt" over your life, we say.

Arve and Margit Yndestad have been active in the medieval conservation-work and culture since the eighties. He is a well known ceramics, she does plant-dying and other medieval techniques. They have been friends of the Bjørkedal people for a long long time, and some few years ago, they decided to move here.

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