Why did Vikings have 'Allah' embroidered into funeral clothes?
Researchers in Sweden have found Arabic characters woven into burial costumes from Viking boat graves. The discovery raises new questions about the influence of Islam in Scandinavia, writes journalist Tharik Hussain.
They were kept in storage for more than 100 years, dismissed as typical examples of Viking Age funeral clothes.
But a new investigation into the garments - found in 9th and 10th Century graves - has thrown up groundbreaking insights into contact between the Viking and Muslim worlds.
Patterns woven with silk and silver thread have been found to spell the words “Allah” and “Ali”.
The breakthrough was made by textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University while re-examining the remnants of burial costumes from male and female boat and chamber graves originally excavated in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in Sweden in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries. Read more.
Two blocks away from dome-popping vegan cinnamon rolls and pastries in Old Town (or Gamla Stan). I meant to take photos of the pastries, but I would always black out and wake up twenty minutes later with crumbs scattered across my face and cinnamon smushed into my sweater. It’s like my brain shut down because it couldn’t handle how perfect they were. Check them out at Sattva bakery! There are a few locations, and I visited the spots in Sodermalm and Gamla Stan.
Old Town can get really busy and touristy, but luckily jet lag was my copilot. We were there at 7am, hours before any of the stores opened for the day. We quietly strolled through the empty cobblestone streets, taking in all the strong architecture and soft light. It’s a totally different world once the town is awake, and I’m glad I got to see it at its best.