Permanent Exhibition

Christian Vikings in Varnhem

Kata Gård was inaugurated in spring 2017. Inside the building, the exhibition “Christian Vikings in Varnhem” is on display. The main focus of the exhibition is the church ruin with the crypt that is clearly visible in the middle of the building. Visitors can move around the ruin and see it from all sides. A couple of models show how the first wooden church and the fully developed stone church might have looked. Glass panels in the floor show some of the tombs, especially the fine tomb of Kata with its rune-carved headstone on the north side.

The exhibition puts the exciting excavation finds and results into context, both locally in Västergötland but also in relation to the rest of the world. Here we tell about the Viking Age in Västergötland, about Christianization, about the journeys west, about the people of Varnhem, about life and health and about the large farm that was here 1000 years ago.

In the surrounding park there is more to see and experience. Here are thousands of graves left under the turf in the almost 4000 square meter cemetery around the farm church. Outside the cemetery, to the east and north, there are traces of the farm’s other buildings. In the pasture outside the stone wall are several pre-Christian burial mounds from the Iron Age where the farm’s people buried their dead before Christianity came.

About Kata Gård

In April 2016, the construction of the protective fence over the churchyard at Kata Gård began. It is a glulam structure, shaped like an isosceles triangle. There are no walls, only floor and ceiling. The floor is open in the middle and there you can look down on the 1000-year-old church ruins. Between the ground and the heavy sills there is a large air gap to ventilate the building. The building is completely unheated and follows the seasonal changes in outside temperature. The roof protects the church grounds from rainfall and also from strong sunlight, which is not good for the limestone in the walls.

The construction project has been financed by grants from Länsstyrelsen Västra Götaland, Sparbanksstiftelsen Skaraborg, Sparbanksstiftelsen Lidköping, Grevillis fond, Västra Götalandsregionen and a private donation. The architect is prof. Magnus Silfverhielm at AIX Arkitekter.