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Bornholm

Main attractions

Hallebrøndshøj in the night, Bornholm
Hallebrøndshøj - megalithic passage grave - in the night / B. Joe Johanson, / CC BY-SA 2.0

The picturesque Bornholm island is located between Sweden, Danish mainland, Germany and Poland, at the European crossroads in the Baltic Sea. As a result this island has distinct, own style in architecture and culture, which is influenced by many cultures.

Highlights of Bornholm are:

  • Medieval round churches - there are surprisingly many medieval churches on the small Bornholm, but four are very special. These four round churches were built in the 12th century and are a subject of modern legends about Templars and Holy Grail.
  • Stone carvings - Some of the most interesting Bronze Age works of art in Northern Europe are the stone carvings in several locations of Bornholm. Symbolics of these carvings is not entirely clear.
  • Standing stones and other megaliths - in numerous locations on the island are located archaeological monuments. Supernatural qualities are attributed to some of these megaliths even today.
  • Cliff formations - contrary to the mainland Denmark, Bornholm has diverse geology with exposed sandstone, gneiss and granite cliffs. Especially interesting is Ekkodalen - impressive rift valley with echo effects.

Natural landmarks

Helligdomsklipperne, Bornholm
Helligdomsklipperne / Andreas Lippelt, / CC BY 2.0

Cliff formations

  • Ekkodalen - rift valley with granite cliffs. This valley has very fine echo effect. Contains ancient shrine - spring of H.C. Ørsted with healing properties attributed to its water.
  • Helligdomsklipperne - up to 22 m high, interesting cliff formations at the sea.
  • Jons Kapel - some 40 m tall cliff on the western coast of Bornholm. Contains a cave - grottoe. Site of legends - here reportedly was preaching the first missionary in Bornholm - Jon.
  • Klintebakken - eroded, picturesque outcroppings of gneiss and sandstone. Site contains traces of rare metals.

Other natural landmarks

  • Døndalsfaldet - the tallest waterfall in Denmark, some 20 m high.
  • Rokkestenen - large glacial erratic. It is possible to rock this 35 tons heavy stone.

Man made landmarks

Madsebakke Stone Carvings, Bornholm
Madsebakke Stone Carvings / Alphalphi, / public domain

Archaeological landmarks

  • Brogardsten - the largest runic stone on the island, carved in the 12th century.
  • Hallebrøndshøj - well preserved megalithic passage grave, built around 3000 BC.
  • Hellig Kvinde - standing stone, so called "greeting stone". Stone is oriented towards the sunset of the longest day of the year. Around the stone are located 11 smaller stones, set in a form of ship.
  • Louisenlund Grove - group of standing stones. Many stones have slanting edges - it is possible that these stones are oriented according to the stars.
  • Madsebakke Stone Carvings - the largest group of stone carvings in Denmark, possibly made as early as in Bronze Age around 1100 - 500 BC. Depicted ships, wheel-crosses and other symbols.

Historical towns

  • Gudhjem - picturesque town - fishing village - with many historical buildings.
  • Rønne - the historical centre of the largest town in Bornholm contains numerous historical buildings. City has many half-timbered houses, the oldest brick house is from 1744.
  • Svaneke - one of the smallest towns in Denmark, with picturesque, narrow streets and half-timbered houses. Possibly the best preserved historical town centre in Bornholm.
Nylars round church, Bornholm
Nylars Church / Hubertus, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Round churches

  • Nyker Church (Ny Kirke) - the smallest of four round churches in Bornholm, built in the 13th century. Church is adorned with medieval frescoes.
  • Nylars Church - one of the four round churches in Bornholm, built in the middle of the 12th century. Possibly the best preserved round church, contains medieval frescoes.
  • Olsker Church (Sankt Ols Kirke) - one of the four round churches in Bornholm, built in the 12th century.
  • Østerlars Church - largest of the four round churches in Bornholm. Constructed in Romanesque style around 1160, served also as a fortification. The enormous central column is adorned with medieval frescoes. Round churches of Bornholm are subject to modern legends about Templars and Holy Grail.
Svaneke church, Bornholm
Svaneke Church / Steen Jeberg, / CC BY-SA 2.5

Other medieval churches

  • Aa Church - possibly the oldest church in Bornholm, constructed around 1100.
  • Nexo Church - Gothic church, built around 1340, the half-timbered tower was built around 1500.
  • Ruts Kirke - Romanesque church, built in the 12th century.
  • Svaneke Church - Charming, red colored half-timbered church. It is not known when the church was originally built, but the tower was built in 1789. Rebuilt in 1881.
  • St. Bodil's Church - interesting medieval church in Romanesque style, built around 1200.
  • St. Ib's Church - old church in Romanesque style, built in the 12th century. Traces of medieval frescoes were found, but are not renovated.
  • St. Knud's Church - medieval church, constructed around 1150 AD.
  • St. Peder's Church - well preserved medieval church, constructed in Romanesque style around 1100 AD.
  • Østermarie church ruins - ruins of an old church in Romanesque style, constructed in the second half of the 12th century. Church has interesting architecture and provides valuable knowledge about medieval construction techniques. Many building stones have runic inscriptions - e.g. runestones were used for the construction.

Fortifications

  • Christiansø Fortress - Ertholmene islands. Danish naval base in strategically important location in Central Baltic. Fort was built here in 1684 and developed into a picturesque town. Round fortification towers serve as lighthouse and museum.
  • Hammershus - ruins of the largest medieval fortress in Northern Europe with 750 m long perimeter wall. This fortress was constructed in the 13th century, most likely as a royal residence for Valdemar II of Denmark.
Aarsdale Windmill, Bornholm
Aarsdale Windmill / Algkalv, / CC BY 3.0

Windmills

  • Aarsdale Windmill - eight-sided Dutch windmill, constructed in 1877. This windmill operates up to this day.
  • Bech's windmill - the oldest preserved windmill in Denmark, built in 1629. Moved to its present location in 1866.

Other man made landmarks

  • Svaneke water tower - unusual watertower, resembling an enormous tripod. Constructed in 1952 and designed by the famous architect Jørn Utzon as his first major work.
  • Uranium mines of Hammerhus Castle - possible secret uranium mines, used by Germans during the World War II for the development of atomic bomb. Rumours are that these mines are located below Hammerhus Castle.

List of described attractions

Bornholm is kommune of Denmark and belongs to Hovedstaden (Capital) region.

ArrowØsterlars ChurchChurches

Map of Bornholm

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