Situated in a marshy area separated from the sea by tidal flats, Ribe is probably the best preserved medieval town in Denmark. Its small size has enabled it to retain its architectural unity and old-world charm. The town was one of the first places in Denmark to embrace Christianity. Once an influential port, Ribe's economic decline was brought about largely as a result of the silting up of the river. The town has nonetheless retained a vibrant cultural life.