- This is where the Vikings came ashore! announces the guide as we walk along the gravel track in Qassiarsuk, a South Greenlandic village on the banks of the fjord.

We have sailed just half an hour from the international airport in Narsarsuaq, and suddenly we’re in the midst of a historical setting. More than 1000 years ago Eric the Red named this fertile place Brattahlid. More settlers then arrived in the south of Greenland throughout the best part of the next 500 years.

"More than 1000 years ago Eric the Red christened this fertile place Brattahlid."

"Tjodhilde was Eric the Red’s wife, and she converted her warlike husband to Christianity."

From warrior to worshipper

The traces of the Vikings are easy to find. We stop at many well-preserved stone ruins from farms, stables and storehouses. After a couple of hundred metres we reach the reconstruction of Tjodhilde’s Church, which was the first Christian church to be built on the American continent.

Tjodhilde was Eric the Red’s wife, and she converted her warlike husband to Christianity. Adjacent to the church is the reconstruction of Eric the Red’s longhouse, and obviously we take the chance to go in and look. We sit down on reindeer hide and wonder what Tjodhilde put in the cooking kettle: Mutton, seal meat, or perhaps both?

A historical mystery

After almost 500 years all traces of the Vikings disappeared from Greenland. Why this occurred remains a mystery to this day. The final piece of written evidence of the Vikings is from Hvalsey church, which is the best preserved ruin in Greenland. A short sailing trip from Narsarsuaq or Qaqortoq takes you to the church, which was built in the 14th century. The 6-metre high stonewalls still tower up into the sky in the middle of this remote landscape. At one time there was a settlement here and much more life than just the grazing sheep that you can see today.

"Why this occurred remains a mystery to this day."