The Danish King’s Garden

In 1219, Valdemar II, the Danish King, invaded Tallinn with his fleet. After initially overcoming the Estonian fortress without much effort, the King sat back and embraced the gifts bestowed upon him by the Estonian emissaries. Foolishly, the King saw this as a sign of surrender and declared the fortress conquered. While the Danish forces were celebrating that night, the Estonians unexpectedly unleashed an attack in which many Danish troops lost their lives.

The situation looked hopeless for the King as he and his forces had been driven back considerably by the unexpected nature of this attack. In an act of desperation, the King fell to his knees and prayed to the heavens for divine help in defeating the superior Estonian forces.

Just as all hope was dwindling, the heavens opened and a tiny piece of material floated gracefully downwards, landing in the King’s arms. The material depicted a white cross on a red background. Inspired by this divine intervention, Valdemar and his men found within themselves the strength and courage to fight back and defeat the Estonian resistance.

The symbol depicted on that piece of material has remained the national flag on Denmark – the ‘Danneborg’, the longest serving national flag in the world. The place where this symbol fell from heaven is also marked in the Old Town and is known as the Danish King’s Garden.

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