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Monsted Limestone Caves

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Monsted Limestone Caves

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Date Posted:April 4th, 2008
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Description: When the Danes became Christians more than 1000 years ago, a new extra source of income was created, "Limestonework and limeburning". With the new religion churches followed which were built of stone. The stone was held together using burnt limestone slaked to mortar, a new building material in Denmark at that time.

Under Mønsted a limestone mountain was found. The limestone which was earlier a useless stone now became a source of income. In the space of 200 years more than 2000 churches were build, equalling 10 a year. This building activity gave Mønsted it's start in the limestone industry, which ended finally in 1978.

Mønsted is only 14 kilometres from the town of Viborg, which in the middel ages was known as the "Capital of Jutland". Along with it`s cathedral there were 12 churches, convents, monasteries and many houses. A bishop who was willing to build and rich citizens meant that Mønsted always had costumers for the burnt limestone, which meant a steady production from the mine. In the sixteen hundreds when Viborg experienced a depression, the limestone production carried on. Mønsted had long before found new markets elsewhere. In 1860 when production was at it`s peak, there were about 3000 loads of burnt limestone delivered to customers all over Jutland from Mønsted and Daugbjerg.

In 1872 the farmers sold all the rights of limestone to the industry "Mønsted Kalkværker" which later became a part of "De jydske Kalkværker". The limestone was no longer only used for mortar. The metal industry and the chemical industry also bought the limestone and the agricultural industry used the limestone for the fields. Even the worst limestone was for sale, and the once before useless rocks of flint were used as fillings in streets, foundations and brickwork. The limestoneproduction was now full time work throughout the year. During winter people worked in the caves and during summer in the open limestone quarry. Despite the use of wagons and hoists, the limestone was still hewed with hoes.

In 1953 the work in the caves ended and two years later also in the limestone quarry, but the limekiln continued to burn limestone from Djursland untill 1978.

There are 200 tons of cheese in Mønsted Limestone Caves. The cheese is from a small dairy in the town of Vellev. After being brought here the cheese spends 8 weeks maturing in the caves. The cheese is turned once every week. The air humidity of 98% and a temperature of 8 degrees create perfect conditions for the maturing of the cheese. Most of the cheese is exported to Germany where it can be bought as "Cavecheese". You can also buy the cheese in the kiosk here in Mønsted Limestone Caves. This is perhaps the best souvenir you can get from a visit to Mønsted Limestone Caves.

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