Czech enthusiasts building replica of Viking vessel

Viking vessel

A team of enthusiasts from Oslavany near Brno are building a replica of a Viking boat from the 12th century. The eight-metre boat is called Gislinge, after the Danish village where the original was discovered, and should be launched in the spring of next year.

The remains of the original Viking vessel were excavated by archaeologists in 1993 in Gislinge, a village located on the reclaimed Lammerfjord.

Analysis of the timber established that the boat was built around the year 1130 and it was most likely used for fishing and transporting both goods and people.

A team of enthusiasts from the town of Oslavany in Moravia are now completing an exact copy of the Viking vessel, using local ash and oak trees.

Daniel Juříček  (right) | Photo: Czech Television

Daniel Juríček, one of the members of the team, says he decided to build the replica of a Viking boat after a trip to the Baltic Sea, where he got to sail on a Viking vessel known as the drakkar.

“I have been interested in boats since I was a child. But at the time there was no internet and I had no idea that there were people in northern Europe who were building replica of drakkars and were even sailing them out to sea.”

The original Viking vessel was nearly eight metres long and 1.5 metres wide and had a cargo capacity of around one tonne, the equivalent of four men and ten sheep. With a draft of only 25 centimetres, it was able to ply both the shallow waters of the fjord and the waterways leading into and out of it.

Mr. Juríček and his two friends have been working on its exact replica for the past three years, and are now nearing its completion:

“When we started, we thought the ship would be finished in a year. But we can only work on it one day a week after work. So it has taken longer than we thought. But now there are really just a few things missing.”

Roman Vrána and Daniel Juríček  (right) | Photo: Radek Bortlík,  Czech Radio

To build the replica of the Viking vessel, the men are using a plan provided for free by the Roskilde Museum near Copenhagen, which focuses on preserving and promoting old crafts.

They are learning the art of shipbuilding as they go, combining old and more modern working methods and tools, explain Roman Vrána and Daniel Juríček:

“Our boat is a mix of different woods. We used a two-hundred-year-old ash tree which was felled here in Oslavany to build the stern and the tip.”

“That’s right. We were given the trunk as a gift back in 2019. A year later we found a tree for the keel; it’s an oak that we transported here from Velké Pavlovice.”

The replica of the Viking boat should be completed by the end of this year and, if everything goes according to plan, it should be launched on the Oslava River in Oslavany in the spring of next year.

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Jarka Eliášová
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