The plain of Idhavoll is the center of the government within Inner Asgard. It consists of the majority of the buildings and locations annotated to legend. It is from this location that the “governing” of Asgard, as a whole, is conducted.
Bifrost and the Rainbow Bridge
Asgard is the smallest of the Nine Worlds, although one feels its vastness when one sets foot here after crossing the Bifrost, the bridge of flames, the Rainbow Bridge. The Bifrost is not always visible, and often is only accessible when Heimdall wills it so, to let in the warriors killed in battle or to let the Aesir come or go.
The first home is located at the end of Bifrost and belongs to Heimdall the white Aesir, guardian of Asgard. Its name is Himinbjorg, the ‘castle in the sky’. Although this god is especially friendly to Midgard’s people, he will not let anyone in who is not explicitly invited by one of Asgard’s inhabitants. He will not usually attack humans but will simply forbid their entry and the huge fence, more than 30 feet tall, will not open.
There is no city in Asgard; however the divine halls are grouped together. Seasons in Asgard are the same as in Midgard, which may explain the interest of the gods for the world of man and its beauty.
Bilskirnir ( means ‘Lightning Crackle’) and is the hall belonging to Thor. According to the Grímnismál, Bilskirnir is the largest of buildings and contains 540 rooms.
Bridablik ( means ‘Broad gleaming’ or ‘Broad View’) and is the hall belonging to Baldur. Described in the Gylfaginning and Grímnismál as being a place where nothing unclean can dwell. It also said to “have the fewest baneful runes” and nothing evil may enter.
Eljudnir (means ‘Sprayed with snow’ or ‘Damp with sleet’) and belongs to Hel located in Nifleheim. The hall is only mentioned specifically in the Gylfaginning in the Prose Edda (however Hel is mentioned in both Eddas). The hall is described as displaying a large threshold called Fallandaforad, which means ‘falling to peril’. It is filled with great mansions with high walls and tall gates. The Prose Edda describes Hel as being the one that rules over the huge mansions and her servants working in the Underworld. In Grímnismál, Hel is said to reside beneath one of the three roots growing from Yggdrasil. Hel was given the order by Odin that she should “receive, and give boarding to those sent to her, and that those will be people who die from old age and sickness.”
Fensalir ( meaning ‘Fen Lands’ or ‘Sea Halls’) and is the hall belonging to Frigga. Mentioned in the Poetic Edda, specifically in the Völuspá, scholars have theorized that Fensalir may been the location of various springs and swamps or even perhaps the sea.
Fokkvang ( means ‘field of the host’ or ‘army-field’) and has also been called “the field of warriors”. It belongs to Freyja and is said to contain nine castles. Her home lies within a meadow presided over by her where half of those who die in combat go upon their death. The other half go to Odin to reside in Valhalla. In Freyja’s hall, the dead are catered to by faithful wives and women who died before marriage.
Fólkvangr is mentioned in the Poetic Edda where Freyja’s hall Sessrúmnir (‘the many seated’) stands. In the Grímnismál it states: “The ninth is Folkvang, where Freyja decrees, Who shall have seats in the hall; The half of the dead each day does she choose, And half does Othin have.”
The Garðr, or enclosure wall of Asgard, is the giant-built fortification that surrounds the plains of Idhavoll. Built high and strong enough to repel any forseen attacks upon the seat of the Asir, the fortification still stands, although it has been reinforced and armed with much greater weaponry since Asgard’s return to power.
Gladsheim (means ‘Bright or Radiant Home’) and is a realm in Asgard that belongs to Odin’s Valhalla. Mentioned in both the Grímnismál and Gylfaginning, Gladsheim contains a meeting hall with 13 high seats where those of the high council of Asgard hold their meetings.
Glitnir (means ‘Shinning Hall’) and belongs to Forseti, the Norse god of law and justice. This is where legal disputes are settled and conflicts resolved. It is also attested to having been a home to Baldr, Forseti’s father. Glitnir is described as having pillars of red gold and its’ roof being plated in silver.
Himinbjorg (means ‘Heavens Mountain’ or ‘Heaven’s Castle’) and belongs to Heimdall. It is mentioned in the Poetic Edda where it states the Heimdallr dwells there as a watchman for the gods and it being located where the rainbow bridge Bifrost meets the heavens. In the Grímnismál it states: “Himingbjorg is the eight, and Heimdall there, O’er men hold sway, it is said; In his well-built house does the warder of heaven, The god mead gladly drink.”
Landvidi (meaning ‘White or Wide Land’) belongs to Vidar. The hall is said to have tall branches, fresh flowers, lush vegetation and high grasslands surrounding it. It is the picture of solitude and all that is naturally beautiful that comes from the earth. Vidar is the symbol of regrowth and sustainability and will be there to avenge Odin in the final battle.
Noatun (means ‘Ships Enclosure’) and belongs to Njord. Noatun is mentioned in the Poetic Edda as being located by the sea, and fishermen and explorers alike would ask Njord for success on their expedition and protection from the strong winds.
Sessrúmnir (Old Norse “seat-room” or “seat-roomer”) is both the goddess Freyja’s hall located in Fólkvangr, a field where Freyja receives half of those who die in battle.
Sokkvabekk (means ‘Sunken Bank’, ‘Sinking Brook’, or ‘Seeress’) and belongs to Sága. It is said to be a place of cool flowing waves where Odin and Sága sit and drink. There are some scholars who propose that Sága may be the goddess Frigg and that Sökkvabekkr could be a connected source to Fensalir since both are described with the same attributes. In the Poetic Edda, the Grímnismál states: “Sökkvabekk is the fourth, where cool waves flow, And amid their murmur it stands; There daily do Othin and Saga drink, In gladness from cups of gold.” In the book Skáldskaparmál, Sága is listed as being present among a list of 27 ásynjur but no further information is provided. Jacob Grimm theorized that the drink shared among them was the drink of immortality and that Saga could be described as a wife or daughter of Odin, leading further scholars to believe that she is Frigga or perhaps a Norn / Schöpferins (shapers of destiny).
Thrudvangar (‘Power Field’ or ‘Power Plain’) the land that belongs to Thor and his Hall Bliskirnir. Mentioned specifically by King Gylfi in the Gylfaginning, it is described as being the largest of buildings ever erected and recounts the story of Thor returning there after the völva Gróa unsuccessfully attempted to remove the stone lodged in Thor’s head after his battle with Hrungnir.
Valaskjalf (‘The Shelf of the Slain’ or ‘Hall of Silver’) is one of the halls belonging to Odin. Valaskjalf is an adorned building roofed with silver. At its’ pinnacle of Valaskjálf is Odin’s seat called Hlidskjalf from which he watches all that takes place in the Nine Worlds. Reference to it can be found in the Poetic Edda, specifically the Grímnismál. The hall is also said to be the home of Vali who is a son of Odin and is said to survive Ragnarok which may mean he will dwell in Odin’s high seat after the battle.
Valholl is Odin’s banquet hall, which welcomes those warriors who died in combat, and who have not been sent to Freya’s Hall, Folkvang. The hall is so high it is difficult to see its ceiling, and it is covered in gold. It shines like the sun. It holds six hundred and forty doors; each of them is so large that nine hundred and sixty warriors could walk through each of them at the same time. By the western door a great, gaunt wolf stands guard, and an eagle constantly flies over its roof.
The framework is made out of spears, the roof out of shields and several suits of scale armor lie on the building’s benches. Here the Einherjar (unique warriors who died in combat, chosen by Odin) drink, recover their strength and train while they wait for Ragnarök. Every day they fight each other, and when the evening comes, the wounded recover their vigor and all return to feast in the hall. Standing on the rooftop, the goat Heidrun grazes on the branches of Yggdrasill that fall here. Mead comes from its udder and fills several vats every day.
While mead flows constantly, good food was also promised to the Einherjar. The boar Sehrimnir is sacrificed every day and his meat served by Asgard’s cook himself, Andhrimnir. The animal is reborn every evening to be sacrificed again the day after. Warriors feast on his flesh, but Odin, the supreme Aesir, has none of it. Instead he feeds his two wolves Geri and Freki and drinks with his unique warriors.
Vingolf (meaning ‘Wine Hall’ or ‘Friendly Door’) is the hall and sanctuary belonging to the Asynjur. This hall is specifically mentioned in three places within the Gylfaginning, in the Prose Edda: “All righteous men shall live and be with him where it is called Gimle or Vingolf, but wicked men will go to Hel and thence to Niflhel (abode of darkness), that is down in the ninth world. (Young’s translation). Another quote from the poem is: “Odin is called Allfather because he is father of all the gods. He is also called Father of the Slain, because all those that fall in battle are the sons of his adoption; for them he appoints Valhall or Vingolf, and they are called Champions.” (Brodeur’s translation) Vingolf may be a comparable term to Gimle, the paradise where the righteous go after death.
Ydalir ( meaning ‘Yew Dales’) is the hall belonging to Ull / Ullr. Ullr was the noble archer god and around his hall grows the tall yew trees that provide the wood that is needed to form all of the bows. Described in the Poetic Edda, Odin (disguised as Grimnir) tell Agnar: “Ydalir it is called, where Ullr has himself a dwelling made. Alfheim the gods Frey gave in days of yore for a tooth-gift”. (a tooth-gift was a gift given when a small child cut their first tooth). The Eddas also speak about Ull stepping up into a position of leadership in Asgard during Odin’s absence for ten years.