County: Storstroms amt.
DK-4780 Stege; tel. (03) 81 44 11.
The Danish island of Mon lies at the E end of Storstrommen, the channel between the islands of Zealand and Falster. The white chalk cliffs at the E end of the island are one of Denmark’s great tourist attractions; but Mon has far more to offer old churches, strikingly beautiful scenery and good bathing beaches. It is connected with Zealand by a bridge from Kalvehave, and can be reached from Falster by taking the ferry from Stubbekobing to the island of Bogo; from Bogo there is a causeway to Mon.
There are many prehistoric remains on Mon; especially interesting are a number of the Neolithic chambered tombs known as Huns’ graves. Popular legend associated these tombs with two giants the Green Huntsman, who ruled over western Mon, and the giant Upsal, king of the cliffs, to whom the E end of the island belonged. Upsal was long regarded as the protector of the island, since it was he who caused enemy ships to be shattered on the island’s rocky coast.
Tour of Mon. The bridge from Zealand crosses the Ulvsund to Mon. 2 km (1i miles) from the bridge, a side road goes off on the right and runs through beautiful scenery (a fine view of the sound from Borren) to the Neolithic tombs known as Kong Askers Hoj and the Klekkende Hoj (the best preserved passage grave, 9 m (30 ft) long and 1 25 m (4 ft) high). 11 km (7 miles) from the bridge, the main road comes to the chief town on the island, Stege (pop. 4000; Skydevaenget Hotel, 51 camp site). The town rose around a castle built by Valdemar I (c. 1175). In the 1 5th c. it was surrounded by walls and a moat; one of the three town gates, Molleporten, has been preserved the only surviving medieval town gate in Denmark besides one at FSborg. St Hans’ Church was built about 1250 and enlarged by the addition of a three-aisled choir about 1460; it has rich fresco decoration.
From Stege, the main road continues towards the E end of the island. A minor road leads N into the Ulvshale peninsula, the first large nature reserve established in Denmark (rare birds, unspoiled natural forest). This seldom-visited part of Mon has some of the island’s finest beaches.
The road E from Stege runs through Keldby, which has a church richly decorated with frescoes, the oldest of which, in the choir, date from the 1 3th c. On the walls are vividly imagined scenes from the Bible, and the vaulting has paintings by the Master of Elmelunde, whose work is frequently found in the churches of Mon. His primitive paintings, full of humour, contain many details taken from everyday life, such as the Nativity scene depicting Joseph making gruel for the newborn infant Jesus. S of Keldby is Keldbylille, with a museum.
The road continues to Elmelunde, 8 km (5 miles) from Stege. The church, a prominent landmark for sailors, is in the style typical of eastern Denmark and contains frescoes by the Master of Elmelunde (Childhood of Jesus, Last Judgment, Entry into Jerusalem, as well as ploughing and harvest scenes). 10 km (6 miles) farther on, the road reaches the main attraction ofthe trip, the chalk cliff known as Mons Klint, the highest point of which is 128 m (420 ft) above the sea. The brilliant white of the chalk standing out against the deep blue of the sea is particularly striking when the sun is shining. A toll is due on the last section of the road (HundsogSrd Hotel, 65 Store Klint summer hotel; camp site). There are footpaths along the cliffs (about 1 hour), and two steep flights of steps lead from Storeklint and Jydeleje to the sea. Fossils of marine animals and plants can be found on the shore. Along the top ofthe cliffs an expanse of open woodland (beeches) contains rare species of plants in the undergrowth. The best view is from Sommerspiret (102 m 335 ft); at Taleren one can hear a remarkable echo. There is an archaeological and geological museum in the car park.
A short distance N of Mons Klint is the romantic little country house of Liselund, built about 1 795 by the governor of the island, Antoine de la Calmette, for his wife and named after her. In the course of his wide travels, he had acquired a taste for French architecture and the back to nature movement ofthe Romantic period; the house was therefore designed in the style of a simple peasant house. There are many other romantic features in the park, including artificial lakes and waterways, a Swiss cottage and a Chinese tea pavilion. Hans Christian Andersen wrote his story, The Tinder-Box while staying in the Swiss cottage. Other buildings in the park were destroyed in a landslip in 1 905.
The return journey from Mons Klint is via the same road as far as Stege. From there a detour of 7 km'(4i miles) S can be made to Ebelnaes, where there is another Stone Age passage grave.
At the S end of the island is the Gron Jaegers Hoj, the Hill of the Green Huntsman, another burial mound. Also here is Fanefjord, with a church containing the richest series of paintings (c. 1500) by the Master of Elmelunde. The paintings form a kind of Biblia pau-perum (Bible ofthe poor), but do not hold rigorously to the Biblical accounts; scenes from the Old and New Testaments mingle with non-scriptural and legendary scenes. There are also frescoes ofthe High Gothic period (c. 1350) on the choir arch (St Christopher, St Martin, knights and emblems ofthe Apostles).
Instead of returning to Zealand, it is possible to continue on the main road over a causeway on to the island of Bogo (pop. 925), once known as the island of mills; there is now only one survivor (Bogo Molle), a windmill of Dutch origin. From Nyby, there is a small ferry to Falster (1 2 minutes).