Schleswig-Holstein's oldest city is also one of its best-preserved examples of a typical north German town. Once the seat of the dukes of Schleswig-Holstein, it has not only their palace but also ruins left by the area's first rulers, the Vikings. The Norse conquerors, legendary and fierce warriors from Scandinavia, ruled northern Germany between 800 and 1100. Although they brought terror and domination to the region, they
also contributed commerce and a highly developed social structure. Under a wide sky, Schleswig lies on the Schlei River in a landscape of freshwater marshland and lakes, making it a good departure point for bike or canoe tours.