Aabenraa was also a proud seafaring town at the time. From here, ships set course for distant destinations such as South America, China and Japan, and on the peninsula of Løjt, northeast of Aabenraa, the captains built lavish houses funded by the wealth they brought home. Many of these houses remain, providing clear evidence of former riches.
Shipping also meant cannons, gunpowder and cannonballs. Two cannons in Aabenraa bear witness to this, originating from the ship Aurora, which was built in Aabenraa in 1808. Today, the two cannons are fired on special occasions when Aurora’s 'kanonlaug'-guild deems that a cannon salute is called for – for example, at harbour festivals in the region.
Aabenraa hasn’t only been a port of call for ships, however: Vessels have also been built in Aabenraa and on the idyllic peninsula of Kalvø in the bay of Genner Bugt, where major shipowner Jørgen Bruhn established a shipyard in around 1850. The shipyard built some of the large merchant ships that sailed the seven seas. Although the shipyard closed down many years ago, passionate volunteers have established a small museum, where interested visitors can learn about ships that at the time brought goods, money and fascinating tales back to Sønderjylland from around the globe.