After starting our journey in Copenhagen and spending a week at the Viborg Gymnastics and Sports Academy College, and another week at Ågård Efterskole, a High School Boarding Academy in Kolding, focusing on secondary education and gymnastics, we continued our month long journey of exploring Danish culture through the study of Danish Gymnastics in the city of Århus, located in the central eastern part of Jutland. Århus is Denmark’s second largest city and calls itself the “World’s Smallest Big City”. If you haven’t noticed, Denmark’s Second City, Århus, can also be spelled as Aarhus in the Danish language. Either spelling is correct.
While enjoying the immersion experience of living at the gymnastics boarding academies the past few weeks, we enjoyed spending our last week in Denmark living with a host family and exploring the beautiful city of Aarhus! From the Old Town to the Deer Park and the Queen’s Palace, Aarhus is filled with lots of interesting Treasures Of Traveling for the foreign traveler. Check out some of those treasures below.
Den Gamle By (The Old Town)
The first location that is a must visit for any tourist exploring Aarhus is Den Gamle By or “The Old Town. Township Museum of Denmark”, which is an open-air living museum located in the heart of Aarhus. It’s a great place for the entire family to visit because the parents and children will be able to experience a fascinating journey back in time and witness a living history. It allows you to see how people in 1927 lived and worked in Denmark because so many people are dressed and acting as people who lived in the 19th century.
The museum was the world’s first open air museum and it opened in 1914. There are over 75 historical buildings in the Old Town, which have been collected from more than 20 small towns throughout all of Denmark. You can easily spend a full day or maybe just a couple of hours exploring all the different living exhibits, as it is beautiful to walk along the cobblestone streets and get lost in the atmosphere.
I enjoyed seeing individuals working just like they did years ago, from chopping wood to cooking food over fire within the living village. One thing that stood out to me that drastically contrasted the beautiful buildings you are viewing is the architecture of these small, old houses with tall, modern skyscrapers looming over them in the distance.
Marselisborg Palace is one of the many castles scattered throughout Denmark, but this palace is well known because it happens to be the summer and Christmas residence of the Royal Family.
The Palace grounds, along with the Queen’s rose garden are open to the public when the Royal family is not staying there. Some people might be displeased if they happen to visit Marselisborg Palace, while the Royal Family is in residence because they won’t be able to see the grounds and gardens, but they will be able to see the Changing of the Royal Danish Guards, which only occurs when the Royal family is in residence. So plan your trip to Marselisborg Palace according to what specifically you want to be able to explore at the palace.
Marselisborg Dyrehave (Aarhus Deer Park)
Another location that is a must visit in Aarhus is the Marselisborg Dyrehave! If you don’t speak Danish, you are probably scratching your head asking, what exactly could that be. Well, it’s another place in Aarhus that the entire family must visit! From the pictures I have posted you can tell it’s a Deer Park.
It’s actually a wooded hilly area that is 54 acres in the in the northern parts of the Marselisborg Forests. The Aarhus Deer Park is filled with multiple types of deer, including roe and sika deer.
The deer are extremely friendly because they are so used to human interaction and always receive food from humans so they are very comfortable around people, but just like all animals they are wild so they can be shy to certain individuals or quick movements.
There are other rules within the park that exist for the safety of not only the deer, but also for all the people visiting. You aren’t allowed to bring dogs or other pets into the park. You also aren’t allowed to run or jog within the park and you are not able to pick up chestnuts and acorns from the ground as the deer eat them.
The Deer Park is open year round as you can tell from our photos with snow on the ground, and it’s free, so once again another wonderful family friendly place to visit. Before you go, there is some more important information regarding the types of food that you can bring into the park to feed the deer and they are carrots and apples.
Once you visit this location, you will be filled with joy and happiness from being able to interact with all the friendly deer.
Aarhus Domkirke or the Aarhus Cathedral is actually the longest and tallest church in Denmark so it’s a must visit travel destination on anyone’s travel itinerary! You can even take a trip to the top of the tower during the summer, but on Sundays, the tower is only open for churchgoers.
The Cathedral started construction in the 12th century and over time has gone through war and multiple fires and as with any fire, there was some destruction. Artists and painters have spent a great amount of time painting fresco’s within the cathedral. So many churches not only in Denmark, but also throughout Europe are painted white inside, because every few years, the frescoes were just painted over with white paint and now are painstakingly being restored by taking off the white paint and uncovering the frescoes to showcase their beauty.
Many cathedrals in Europe are also used for concerts and nightclubs as there are fewer church parishioners attending services, than in the past, so many churches are large open spaces now used for something other than worship on a Sunday and Aarhus Cathedral is no different.
Gymnastics in Aarhus
I can’t write about Aarhus and not talk about the Danish Gymnastics experiences we participated in. While the previous weeks were spent at a college level Gymnastics and Sports Academy in Viborg, along with a High School Boarding Academy called Ågård Efterskole, the week in Aarhus, we were able to stay with a Danish host family.
They are a wonderful family and luckily, all three of us already knew them because they had previously been our Danish Gymnastics Instructors at Berea College a few years earlier. We were able to participate in local children’s Danish Gymnastics schools and sports facilities. It was amazing to see so many children running around performing flips and learning the basic gymnastics techniques! We also were afforded the opportunity to teach some American contra dancing to the students within a few schools.
The city of Aarhus was a wonderful place to spend our fourth and final week in Denmark to experience Danish culture and witness the community building Danish gymnastics creates amongst a group of people! Make sure to check out some of the other Danish cities we visited, including Copenhagen, Viborg and Kolding on our month long cultural immersion experience in Denmark.