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Smartappart Caen - 16/12/2019

Ornavik Historic Park awaits its longship in 2020

Ornavik Historic Park awaits its longship in 2020

After a very successful 2019 season, the Hérouville Saint-Clair  Park is an attraction that counts for the Normandy region. Might the Vikings series have aroused curiosity? The arrival of an authentic Scandinavian longship in 2020 should ensure a record attendance and reward the volunteers who worked on the reconstructions.


Understanding our roots

The 10 hectares of the wooded area of Beauregard set the scene of the region's origins. From the grant of Norman lands to Rollon the Viking in the year 911 to the victory of William The Conqueror in Hastings in 1066, Ornavik, created in 2011, has its origins in the deep interest of Christian Sébire and his volunteers for this story rich in twists and turns.


The birth of a region

While the Vikings invaded and plundered, the King of the Franks Charles The Simple signed the Treaty of St. Clair on Epte in 911 with the leader of the Vikings, Rollon the Walker. Normandy, the Land of the men of the North, was born and Rollon became Duke of Rouen. From Upper Normandy to Lower Normandy, his descendants swore allegiance to the king of France. They become "Dukes" while remaining in charge of their territory. The Duchy of Normandy became one of the greatest powers in Europe in the XI century when William "The Bastard", seizing the crown of England, became William "The Conqueror". The city of Caen keeps its legendary importance.


The birth of a passion

It was while visiting the site of Guédelon in 2001 that Christian Sébire came up with the idea of creating Ornavik. Materialized in 2009 with the creation of the association "The vikings year 911", its approach is based on the precepts of experimental archeology. To bring to life the knowledge locked in museums, he cooperates with historians and archaeologists to make the site an open book always renewed by a living pedagogy. 


Volunteering as a cornerstone of the project

The DNA of this park is the sense of community that animates the team of builders made up of 150 volunteers. They live and embody medieval culture far from modernity. Archaeologists, workers, enthusiasts but also people in professional integration and civic-service volunteers chip in, whether it is a to build a semi-buried house, a Carolingian farm or a Swedish House.

Ornavik saw a 30% increase in attendance in 2019 with over 12,000 visitors. The arrival of the longship straight  from Alesund should attract a crowd this year. The park will be open 5 days a week starting in April 2020. With yet another novelty planned for 2021: a viking Interpretation Center to de-construct in a playful and lively way the prejudices around the Scandinavians and the vikings. Faith of Ragnar Lothbrok, by Odin, it was time!

Photo: Ornavik

Related reading:

- The Great War reporter Patrick Chauvel sets up his archives at the Caen Memorial


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