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Swords in The Rock, Norway

On a small hill on the edge of Hafrsfjord, about 6 km from the city center of Stavanger, Norway, stands three enormous bronze swords as monument to the battle of Hafrsfjord that took place here more than 1,100 years ago.

The Battle of Hafrsfjord is widely regarded as the culminating event that led to the unification of the many petty kingdoms that made up Norway, for the first time under a single monarch. Although numerous events contributed to the unification process which itself lasted several centuries, the Battle of Hafrsfjord ranks high in the popular imagination of Norway. In this decisive battle, King Harald, who controlled large parts of Norway's southeast portion, crushed the opposing forces to bring the entire country under his rule.

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Photo credit: Stine Homann/Flickr

The monument in Hafrsfjord, called Sverd i fjell or “Swords in Rock” in English, was designed by Fritz Røed and unveiled by King Olav in 1983. The three swords stand 10 meters tall and are planted into the rock of a small hill next to the fjord. The largest sword represents the victorious Harald, and the two smaller swords represent the defeated petty kings. The monument also represents peace, since the swords are planted into solid rock, whence they may never be removed.

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Photo credit: Ronel Reyes/Flickr

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Photo credit: Ronel Reyes/Flickr

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Photo credit: Giuseppe Milo/Flickr

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Photo credit: unknown

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