Norse cosmology divided the universe into nine realms. The center of the universe was the great world-tree Yggdrasil and the nine realms either spread out from the tree or existed in levels stretching from the roots down and, marginally, side-to-side. Earlier Norse works (known as Eddic and Skaldic poetry) assume a knowledge of the cosmology and do not bother much with descriptions of locations or, in some cases, even specifics of what the realms were like and, because of this – and the fact that Norse religion had no written scripture – some of the realms are less clear than others.
• Asgard – Realm of the Aesir, joined to Midgard by the rainbow bridge Bifrost
• Alfheim – Realm of the Elves
• Hel – Realm of those who died of illness or old age and then of most people
• Jotunheim – Realm of the Giants and Frost Giants
• Midgard – Realm of the Humans between Asgard and Jotunheim
• Muspelheim – Realm of Fire, the fire-giant Surtr, and Surtr’s forces of chaos
• Nidavellir/Svartalfheim – Realm of the Dwarves beneath the earth
• Niflheim – Realm of Ice, Snow, and Mist near Muspelheim
• Vanaheim – Realm of the Vanir
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