The Nine Worlds

In Norse mythology, there were nine worlds. These worlds were all connected to Yggdrasil [pronounced: ig-dra-sil].

The Higher Worlds

Asgard [as-guard] was the highest world. It was at the top of Yggdrasil. Home to the Aesir [ice-ir], it was a sprawling golden city. Within its walls was Valhalla [val-hal-uh], Odin’s [oh-din's] majestic halls, where half of those who fall in battle dwelt. These halls were also the homes of the Valkyries [val-ker-ee's]. Asguard was connected to the mortal world of Midgard [mid-guard] by a rainbow bridge called the Bifrost [bye-frost]. This was the only way into Asgard, and only those who possessed undying will could make the crossing.

To find out more about the Aesir, click here.

Asgard and Bifrost in interpretation of Otto Schenk of Wagner's drama Das Rheingold

Vanaheim [vana-hame] was the realm of the Vanir. It was a grassy world with roaring, wide oceans and vast meadows.

To find out more about the Vanir, click here.

'Rocky Mountain Landscape' by Albert Bierstadt

Alfheim [alf-hame] was a woodland realm. It belonged to the light elves.

'A stream through the valley' by Peder Mønsted

The Middle Worlds

Midgard [mid-guard] was the realm of mortals. There was great natural beauty to be found in Midgard. In the oceans that surrounded it lived the Midgard Serpent. A ferocious beast with jet-black scales and great fangs.

'California Spring' by Albert Bierstad

Jotunheim [yo-tun-hame] was the world of the frost giants. It was a harsh, misty place with dark forests and wild beasts.

'Storm on the Matterhorn' by Albert Bierstadt

Nidavellir [nid-uh-vell-ir] was a rocky land with tall mountains and deep caverns. It was the domain of the dwarves. They were master craftsmen and skilled blacksmiths who made their homes beneath the earth.

To find out more about the Dwarves, click here.

'Höhle am Abend' by Joseph Wright

The Lower Worlds

Niflheim [niff-el-hame] was an ice realm. Harsh winds tore around this frozen wasteland.

'Winter in Yosemite' by Albert Bierstadt

Muspelheim [mus-spell-hame] was a world of pure flame. Wildfires rage, rivers of lava carve through the land, and molten fissures pocked the earth.

'A View into a Volcano' by Jules Tavernier

Hel [hell] was a cold, dark land located deep beneath the ground like a grave site. It was home to the dead and ruled over by the fearsome giantess, Hel.

'Last Reflection' by Albert Bierstadt