Jorvik Viking Centre - History and Facts | History Hit

Jorvik Viking Centre

United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

26 Jan 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Jorvik Viking Centre

The Jorvik Viking Centre is a historical visitor attraction in York displaying a reconstructed Viking city as it would have looked in approximately 975 AD. It features a selection of 40,000 well-preserved Viking items found by archaeologists between 1979 and 1981, and the remains of their city, once known as Jorvik.

Jorvik Viking Centre history

Excavations were undertaken by the York Archaeological Trust across the area now occupied by the Viking centre, and uncovered a wealth of information about the settlement that used to be there. Timber buildings, wells, tools and pottery were unearthed, as well as less-durable materials such as wood, leather, human and animal remains and textiles. Due to the oxygen-deprived wet clay, these materials were miraculously able to survive over one thousand years underground.

Silks discovered inferred that in the 10th century, Jorvik had trading links as far as the Byzantine Empire, while a cowrie shell suggested links to the Red Sea or Persian Gulf. Pagan and Christian artefacts lay side-by-side, also suggesting that Christianity was not the lead authority in Jorvik, and some degree of coexistence was present.

Jorvik today

Today, many of these items are displayed at Jorvik Viking Centre along with a reconstruction of the city, complete with animatronic figures whose faces are based on skulls found at the site.

From market scenes to domestic interiors, Jorvik recreates Viking life as it would have been during some of York’s earliest history, as a moving carriage transports you from place to place. Old Norse can be heard, alongside other sounds and smells of the 10th century, while the following museum exhibits are also manned by ‘real life’ Vikings.

This site features as one of our Top 10 UK Tourist Attractions.

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Getting to Jorvik

The Jorvik Viking Centre is situated in the centre of York, in the outdoor square of the Coppergate Shopping Centre. The nearest car park is the Castle car park, a 5 minute walk away, while York also operates various Park and Ride services.

The nearest bus stop is on Tower Street, a 5-minute walk away, and the train station takes approximately 30-minutes to walk from.

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Discover some of York's best historic sites, from the breathtaking York Minster to the meandering medieval City Walls. As one of the oldest cities in the UK, York's history spans everything from the Romans to the Cold War, leaving history fans of any era spoilt for choice!