Cape Arkona /Kap Arkona is a cape on the island of Rügen in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. Cape Arkona is the tip of the Wittow peninsula, just a few kilometres north of the Jasmund National Park. The temple fortress of Arkona, today called Jaromarsburg, was the religious centre of the Slavic Rani in the Early Middle Ages. The temple was dedicated to the deity Svantevit, who was depicted with four heads. The temple housed an important horse oracle in Slavic times, where the behaviour of a white stallion could decide peace or war (horse oracles have a long history in this region, being already attested in the writings of Tacitus).
Today, only about a quarter of the old fortress is left, as the chalk-promontory it was built on is slowly eroded by the Baltic. Rescue excavations are in progress. The fortress at Arkona was destroyed in 1168 by Danish invaders (see Absalon). The sanctuary of Slavic god Svantevit was also destroyed. This event preceded the forced Christianization of the region’s inhabitants.
There are two old lighthouses at the cape, one constructed in 1827, the other one in 1902. The former is one of the oldest still existing lighthouses of the Baltic Sea. It was constructed by the famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. In 1927, the cape’s name was given to a German liner, the SS Cap Arcona. Prior to the German reunification, Arkona was often considered the most northern point in the German Democratic Republic. However, the site Gellort is located about one kilometre northwest.
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