Denmark and Cyprus pay tribute to 12th century king

NICOSIA Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:49pm IST

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NICOSIA (Reuters Life!) - Denmark and Cyprus paid tribute on Wednesday to a Danish king who died on the island on his way to Jerusalem just after the First Crusade more than 900 years ago.

Erik I of Denmark, also known as Erik Ejegod (Evergood), died in the western Cypriot town of Paphos in 1103. The exact whereabouts of his tomb remain a mystery.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller, on a working visit to the island, and Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou, inaugurated a street named after Erik I in Paphos on Wednesday.

"By honoring Erik Ejegod we are honoring also his country and its culture, conveying the message that history and culture creates bridges with people separated geographically," Paphos town Mayor Savvas Vergas said in a prepared address.

Locals have no historical account on where the Danish royal was interred.

"We don't know where he is buried, we presume in the remains of the Latin cathedral of the town," said Themis Philipides, the Municipal Secretary of Paphos.

According to historians, Erik I -- described in some literature as a "strapping man" who inherited his father's "appetite for women" headed off to the Holy Land after taking an oath of chastity for the duration of the voyage.

He was taken ill on the island, while his wife, Bodil, lived to see Jerusalem where she died.

(Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Paul Casciato)

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