The noise of the wagons slowly crossing the cobbled roads, the houses where it was not hard to imagine on the inside a lit fireplace with some grey headed grandmas all sat around it, talking of fairy tales, sometimes creepy to stunned children: the charm of an old town, or an ancient village bewitches anyone, even more so when the dive into the past is abrupt.

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In Århus, important and lively trading city of Denmark, while walking through the Botanical Gardens you are all of a sudden thrown into a world, by now, far gone: it is the Den Gamle By, the Old town, the very 1st Open Air Museum of its kind, opened in 1914.

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It has been recreated the atmosphere not of a rural village, but of a typical Danish city from the past. While walking through it you have almost the impression to be about to bump into Hans Christian Andersen while looking for inspiration.

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The 75 historical buildings, belonging to different epochs between the 16th and 19th century, were taken to Aarhus and then rebuilt in the early 20th century, once a teacher of the area, Peter Holm, had saved from destruction the House of the Mayor, of Renaissance epoch; the building was later on rebuilt, along with another construction of the same period, within the Botanical Gardens.

The initial core of the Museum was once called “The Old House of the Mayor”

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Throughout the years, Den Gamle By got enriched with new houses, workshops, shops as well as important palaces: a post office, customs, a school, a theater. All the spaces are furnished with furniture and objects dating back specifically to each building and animated by the personnel of the Museum dressed up in fitting costume.

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Visiting Den Gamle By is like make a trip with a time machine: in the biggest area on the park you will find yourself in a more ancient and rural Denmark, between the 16th and 19th century, the one described by Andersen in his sad fables. There is a bakery which bakes baking goods with original recipes from 1800, the workshop of a carpenter, the shop of a hatter and much more.

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The time travel forward through Denmark from the 20’s with shops where they sell typical goods from the time and it ends with a taste of the 70’s: the furnishing of houses and shops talks about different lifestyles, like the one of a couple of retired people, a family of Turkish immigrants, a hippie community.

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To terminate the journey it is possible to visit the “Museums in the Museum”, which gather interesting exhibitions like the one of the clocks, toys, jewels, porcelains all the way to the modern posters.

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Above: picture shared via Flickr/Gonzalo Pineda Zuniga – licence Creative Commons

Above: picture shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons

Above: picture shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons

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Rachele Goracci

DESIGNER, COSTUME MAKER AND LANGUAGE ENTHUSIAST. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD A HUGE PASSION FOR MYSTERY, ODDITIES AND PSYCHOLOGY. BY COLLABORATING WITH VANILLA MAGAZINE I HAVE THE CHANCE TO NURTURE (ALMOST) ALL THESE INTERESTS AT ONCE

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