Welcome to the market town of Sundkøbing!
There has never been a market town or village where Sundkøbing is located. Sundkøbing is thus a fictional market town that shows archeologists' and historians' best bid on what a medieval market town looked like in the 1400s. It can never be 100% correct, as we can never get to know exactly how everyday life was in the 15th century. This is thus our bid for how life has been in the 15th century in a small market town in Denmark.
Just as there are no explanatory signs in the present, for example, outside your own house, there were no signs in the Middle Ages. We convey the story by offering a time travel 610 years back in time - and if one landed in the 15th century, there would be no explanatory signs. The same principle applies to Sundkøbing. Here we take pride in the direct dialogue between guests and the interpreters.
Do you have a question? About the houses? About life? About the food? Then find a person in medieval clothing. The citizens of the city want to talk and tell you about life in the market town and their daily lives.
Did you know that:
At the Medieval Center you can touch everything? All our things are reconstructions and not original objects like in museums. Therefore, things must be used, and if you ask, for example, the blacksmith, he will show you his tools in hand.
The things you usually see in showcases at the museums are brought to life in Sundkøbing.
At the Medieval Center, you can meet a number of different animals. We strive to have old breeds that people would have in the Middle Ages. We have, among other things, geese, chickens, pigs, goats, and of course horses.
The animals must not be fed. The management of the Medieval Center makes sure that the animals get the food they need.
Visitors are not allowed inside the pigs' and goats’ living areas, and the animals are generally not pet animals.
The houses in Sundkøbing
In Sundkøbing there are 13 houses and workshops as well as several small buildings. The Medieval Center is not an open-air museum with original buildings. Our houses are reconstructions, that is, new houses built from historical sources such as archeological finds, texts, and illustrations.
Most of the houses are made so that they contain both a living area and a workshop, but some houses simply function as workshops - or stalls, as they were called in the Middle Ages. Here a craftsman could rent in and have his business.
Sundkøbing is a section of a medieval market town. In the Middle Ages, there would be several of the same types of craftsmen in a market town. For example, several types of blacksmiths: blacksmith, tinsmith, armor maker, swordsmith, silversmith, etc.
When you enter Sundkøbing, the first building you see is the smith’s workshop. The town's blacksmith works here. He can make most things in iron. As his profession contains a number of fire hazards, his workshop is located on the outskirts of the city - in case it should go up in flames. Tucked back on his plot lies his little house.
Opposite the smithy is the carpentry shop. This is where the city's carpenter lives. He can both turn wood on a pole lathe, and build whatever one may wish in wood; chests, houses, tables, benches, etc.
Next to the smithy is the “double booth”. Over the past decades, this house has had many functions, but now there is an armory and office for the town's head of the guard, as well as a tinsmith’s workshop where amulets are being made.
Next to the double booth is the weaver. Here stands an old beautiful loom. It is not a reconstruction of a medieval loom but a real one, from the 17th century.
In the large market square at the end of the main street, one can find open stalls as well as a closed wooden stall where the market’s women work and sell their trades.
At the end of the square is a large red house. It has the town's hostel on the 1st floor, and downstairs are two workshops: to the left is the tailor, and to the right is the writers’ and painters’ guild.
Behind the hostel, there are animal folds for pigs and goats.
If you keep following the road, you pass two empty plots that are being divided into several stalls, then you come down to the harbor area.
To the right, on a small hill, you meet justice and punishment - the city's stocks - as well as a large wooden prison box.
Behind this hill lies the kitchen house - the rich merchant’s kitchen and bakery. This is where the matron works. She cooks for the rich merchant and his family, using fine spices. The merchant himself lives in the big red house. Downstairs are the private areas and his shop, where you can see all the beautiful goods he sells.
The merchant, who by virtue of his position as the city's richest man is also the city's mayor, invites the various artisan guilds to meetings and parties in the large banquet hall on the first floor.
Next to the banquet hall is the “summer room”. Here guests to the merchant can spend the night, and his lady and her girls can weave on the beautiful reconstruction of a medieval loom.
Next to the grocery store is the town's shoemaker - and next to him lives another merchant. He sells coarser goods such as skins, bricks, and iron bars.
Opposite the grey merchant’s house is the boathouse, and next to this is the dyer’s house and workshop. The dyer, Elisabeth, can get the most beautiful colors with both domestic plants and imported colors if one can afford it!
On the other side of the harbor is the rope maker’s house all by itself. The ropemaker needs space to unroll the long ropes.
If you follow the path from the harbor and past the stocks, you come to the city's gallows hill - here criminals are hanged.
Right in front, you see the medieval center's landmark - the big trebuchet and the cannons.
To the right of this is Sundkøbing's knight’s tournament field, where the knights compete and joust.
If you want to know more about the houses and how we have reconstructed them, visit our more educational website - the Medieval Academy (Middelalderakademiet, only in Danish).