Sagastad knowledge center opens on May 10

New Viking ship hits the fjord

Photo: Lars Lunde
The new Myklebust ship was launched onto Nordfjordeid the last weekend in April.

Solveig Midtbø
Sagastad

On May 10, Sagastad, a new knowledge center about the Viking Age, opened in western Norway. The main attraction is the 30-meter (100 ft. long) Myklebust ship. Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher EducationIselin Nybø was present for the festivities.

“Sagastad is a knowledge center about the Viking Age of national scope, developing in professional cooperation with the University of Bergen,” notes Sagastad Director Kjell Storeide.

Sagastad is located on the Nordfjordeid, where the original Myklebust ship was found in one of the country’s largest and most spectacular Viking graves: a burial mound still visible today. In addition, there are several other graves from the Viking Age at Nordfjordeid, which confirm the city’s central role at this time.

The new knowledge center tells the story of the Myklebust ship with modern technology as well as the history of other burial sites, life in the Viking Age, myths, and traditions. Last but not least: visitors to Sagastad will have the opportunity to go aboard a real Viking ship, “the largest we know of in Norwegian history,” notes Solveig Midtbø, who is in charge of rentals.

Both the Myklebust ship and Sagastad are spectacular and unique. The Myklebust ship was built by boat builders from Bjørkedalen in Volda, 15 minutes from Nordfjord­eid, part of an uninterrupted, 1,000-year boat building tradition. About 10,000 working hours were spent recreating the ship.

The Sagastad building is both a “modern boathouse” and a visual recreation of the burial mound in which the ship was found. The circular building is 35 meters (115 ft.) in diameter, built in glass and black wood, with low energy consumption. For the most part, the building is heated with seawater from the fjord and solar cells on the roof. The Myklebust ship can be launched directly from the Sagastad building, a combination exhibition center and boathouse.

Entrance to Sagastad was free on opening day. In the evening, there was a concert with Einar Selvik from Wardruna, one of Norway’s most prominent interpreters of music from the Viking Age. The next day was family day, with concerts by Oselie and Viking musician Kjell Braaten. With horses from a local recreational farm and a visit from the Women’s Ship Embla in the surrounding park, it was a day of fun, excitement, and learning for all.

For more information about Sagastad, visit: www.sagastad.no/en.

Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall.

This article originally appeared in the May 17, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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