Sverd i Fjell – Stavanger's impressive Viking monument
Feel the wings of history when you visit the artwork Sverd i Fjell – three huge Viking swords that tower over Hafrsfjord near Stavanger. The artwork was created to commemorate the fact that Norway was united as a single kingdom in 872.
As its name suggests, Sverd in Fjell is made up of three ten-metre–high vertical bronze swords that look as if they've been stabbed into the rock by a giant. The swords are said to symbolise peace, unity and freedom and stand close to the shores of the idyllic Hafrsfjord near Stavanger.
They thus stand as a beautiful monument to both the battle that (at least according to legend) led to the unification of Norway, and the subsequent peace, which, in keeping with Viking custom, was marked by the warring parties sticking their swords into the ground.
Romantic and harsh history
The story behind the swords is both a dramatic love story and a bloody war story. In the 8th century Norway was ruled by a series of minor kings, and according to legend Harald Hairy set out to unite the country in order to impress his chosen wife, Gyda Eiriksdatter, who would only marry him if he succeeded in subduing all of Norway. He therefore went to war against the other minor kings, and the decisive battle was at Hafrsfjord in 872. Here Harald defeated his last important opponents, and Norway was united in one kingdom (and he got his Gyda).
In 1983, the Norwegian artist Fritz Røed perpetuated this story with the artwork Sverd i Fjell, which was unveiled by King Olav himself. The swords now stand as an impressive monument in the middle of the beautiful fjord landscape and are a perfect destination for a day out when you want to experience nature and culture as well as history. Bring a packed lunch and enjoy it at the foot of the impressive swords, looking out over the clear waters of the fjord and feeling the wings of history.
Afterwards, continue the day with a walk along the area's idyllic hiking and cycling trails or explore Stavanger's Broken Column sculpture project, which consists of 23 cast–iron figures placed around the city.