Historic Oxen Trail – Flensburg, Törning mill
Historic Oxen Trail – Flensburg, Törning mill ©Büro Oeding, Flensburg

A journey of discovery on an old trade route from Hamburg to Viborg: Historic Oxen Trail

Travel on foot, in a carriage or by bike on the 500km Historic Oxen Trail, an old trade and pilgrimage route through Schleswig and Holstein to Denmark and the land of Vikings and Norsemen.

The Historic Oxen Trail from Wedel near Hamburg to Viborg in Denmark – or vice versa – takes in the beautiful countryside of northern Germany between the North Sea and the Baltic. This trail served many purposes: as well as being a strategic military route, it also had great religious significance as part of a main pilgrimage route in northern Europe more than 1,000 years ago. The trail was also used by countless pilgrims, particularly in the Late Middle Ages (1400-1520), to reach the major places of pilgrimage for the Christian world – Rome, Jerusalem and, above all, Santiago de Compostela. An important pilgrimage church for the region was the historical church in Oeversee. Pilgrims' lodgings such as the St. Gertrude's hostels and poor guilds developed along this popular inland route, often located a day's trek from each other. Only a few parts of the original Oxen Trail remain, in Lürschau and in the Kropper Busch for example, but fords and inns often provide evidence of the route, and there are prehistoric burial mounds which were likely to have been sited close to the trail. The route also served as a mail, express and travel route well into modern times. Experience this historical inland route – a path taken by Vikings, pilgrims, oxen handlers, soldiers, travellers and artisans; travelled by everyone from kings to vagabonds.

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