See the nine historic attractions of "The Rune Kingdom"
The region around Stockholm has the highest density of runestones in the world. In the tour area Runriket (The Rune Kingdom), a partnership between Stockholm County Museum and the municipalities of Täby and Vallentuna, you can explore the history of runestones at nine sites located around the Vallentuna lake. The gateway to Runriket is located at Jarlabankes bro with an information centre, outdoor exhibition, experience park and a reconstruction of the Viking Age monument.
A thousand years may seem a long time, but in this unique district, ancient history will feel like the present day. Nowhere else in the world can boast as many well-preserved runic inscriptions as the area around Lake Vallentunasjön; inscriptions which help bring the characters of the Viking Age back to life. This was the place that the Viking woman Estrid and her family called home for several generations. Find out about Östen and his voyage to Jerusalem; Holme who went to fight in Italy; and the great chieftain himself, Jarlabanke – who claimed to be the owner of all Täby.
Runestones as Advertisement
The 11th century saw an increase in Christian missions in what is now Sweden, and belief in the ancient Norse gods declined in favour of the new religion. At the forefront of this trend were the king and a number of ruling clans that welcomed the new social order. At this time, there were no communal churches; instead the first Christians raised runestones on their own land to proclaim their faith. Raising a runestone was also a way of displaying the inheritance rights to the family farmstead.
In a region full of heathens, it was important to position the stones so that they were visible to as many people as possible. They were considered extravagant works of art and painted in bright colours. However, over the years the colours have faded and nowadays only the inscriptions are coloured to improve legibility.
Inscriptions were often engraved on commission by expert engravers known as “runemasters”. They provide us with detailed information about Viking Age lifestyle. The texts on the stones were frequently tributes to a family member who had passed away. They also allow us an insight into contemporary foreign travel, bridge construction, burial mounds, farms and ownership rights.
Take the Tour
The whole family can enjoy an introduction to Runriket.
Start at Jarlabankes bro, crossing the 150 meter bridge where two of four rune stones still remain.
Let your children explore the experience park and visit the outdoor pavilion exhibition.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery around the lake and find several attractive picnic areas near the historical sites.
Experience the church in Täby, from the 13th century, that features ceiling frescoes from the 1480s by the renowned painter, Albertus Pictor.
See Arkils Tingstad, the Viking-Age assembly place; an intriguing stone formation near the lake, which is a unique heritage site.
Take the tour round the lake on a bike, in a car or by public transport. The entire route is almost 35km in length. All ancient monuments are clearly marked and additional information about the history and significance of each site is available in English on the numerous information boards. Multilingual guides are available for tours, who can describe Runriket in more detail and tailor a tour to suit your group.