Birka-Hovgården, Sweden

Site Overview

An archaeological complex showing the elaborate trading networks of the Vikings

Birka-Hovgården is one of 15 places in Sweden that are considered so important they can join the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are lots of ancient monuments here – and still a lot to discover.

Birka is an archaeological site located on the island Björkö, in Lake Mälaren. It was occupied from the 8th to 10th centuries. Hovgården is situated on the neighbouring island of Adelsö. Together, they make up an archaeological complex which illustrates the elaborate trading networks of Viking-Age Europe and their influence on the subsequent history of Scandinavia.

Merchants and craftsmen with goods from all over Europe and other parts of the world came to Birka during the Viking Age. This is known because archaeological excavations have found Arabian silver, Eastern European beads, beautiful glass beakers, ceramics and exclusive fabrics. These imported items were exchanged for goods that were available here, such as iron, hides, horns and furs.

In the city's working quarters there were many craftsmen, such as blacksmiths, comb makers, bronze casters, pearl makers, weavers and others. They lived in simple houses that were erected in rows down towards the harbour.

Today there are reconstructed Viking houses and visitors can also experience guided tours of the ancient area or go by boat to the island from the beginning of May until the end of September.

On site are a museum, shop, restaurant and café.

Key Attractions
  • Village
  • Market and trade
  • Religion and Belief
  • Ships
  • Forts
  • Artefacts
  • Reconstructions
  • Excavations
Contact Details

Björkö, Lindby brygga, 17892 , Adelsö


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