This years Viking festival will take place on August 11. – 14. The historic links between Norway and Ukraine will be a central theme.
Norwegian king Harald Hardrada (1015-1066) married the Ukrainian princess Ellisiv (Elizaveta/Elisabeth) in Kyiv in 1045. This was on his return journey from Constantinople, where he had served with the Emperor´s bodyguard for a number of years and amassed great fortune. Ellisiv was the daughter of Jaroslav the Wise, ruler of the Kyiv-Rus realm. Her image can be seen to this day, in a mosaic inside Kyiv´s wonderful St Sophia cathedral.
The marriage is yet only one example of the close ties between Scandinavia and the Kyiv kingdom during the Viking age and later. Several Norwegian kings spent shorter or longer periods in the city. We shall learn more about these ties during this year´s festival.
Celebrated guests: We´ve long established good relations with Ukraine´s Embassy in Oslo, as well as with the Ukrainian Club in Eastern Norway. Its members have taken part in previous festivals as well as our Christmas market, adding an exotic touch with their songs, music, traditional costumes and handicrafts.
This year we will receive visitors from the “Viking establishment” in the town Ivano-Frankivsk, where they are building two boats; one Viking and the other a Ukrainian boat typical of the period. The latter is to be transported by ship and road to the festival, compliments of a Ukrainian logistics company. The boat is 13 meters long, two meters broad and weighs 2 tons.
Exchange of knowledge: Some time during the next few months one of our boat builders will visit Ivano-Frankivsk to share his knowledge on Viking boat building. Alexandr Smyk is a Ukrainian citizen himself living in Norway, and has for two years been employed by us.
What names the two boats will be given? Harald Hardrada and Ellisiv, of course.