Church of Our Lady Copenhagen

The Church of Our Lady Copenhagen (or Vor Frue Kirke) is nothing if not a testament to perseverance. The first Copenhagen cathedral on this site began construction in 1256, only to be destroyed, much like the next four – the one that stands today was rebuilt in 1811, following the British attack on the city (In fact, the towering spire that shot out of the Church of Our Lady Copenhagen was used by British forces as a target for their projectiles).

In honor of the first cathedral, however, parts of the original chapel walls were incorporated into the current building designed by renowned Danish architect Christian Frederik Hansen. Redone in a succinctly neoclassical style, this Copenhagen cathedral continues to be one of the highlights of any tour through the old part of the city.

For the Church of Our Lady was always the main cathedral of Copenhagen, despite its tumultuous past. Though unable to escapes fires, battles, and the onset of time, the church was able to keep its rank as the most important Copenhagen cathedral. Not only was it the most sacred location in all of Denmark, it also had great political influence, hosting the coronation ceremonies of every Danish king of the 16th century and a smattering of royal weddings throughout the years. Traces of the building’s past are laid inside– everything that is left from each rendition of the Church of Our Lady Copenhagen is kept inside the museum here, along with numerous sculptures done by Bertel Thorvaldsen. The crypt is considered by many as the highlight of any cathedral of Copenhagen. The church is also home to the oldest surviving church bell in the country, dating back to the late 15th century.

The neoclassical façade is almost like false advertising, since the interior shows no traces of this style, opting instead for a bright opulence. Thorvaldsen’s Jesus and the twelve apostles stand here, consisting of impeccable Italian marble, lining the walls of the cathedral. Moses and David can also be found here, cast out of bronze. Overall, there is a stark lack of color inside - everything is white or gold, giving the interior an appearance of a royal ballroom rather than a place of worship. And seeing thousands of tourists stream in the front doors of the most visited cathedral of Copenhagen do little to change this belief.

Near the Round Tower and Copenhagen University, the heart of the city’s old town beats in this church, its tower visible from most points in the southerly part of town. Open every day but Sunday from 8 until 5, the Copenhagnen Cathedral itself doesn"t offer any tours, but it is almost always included in Copenhagen itineraries on day tours of the city, if one is interested in getting a more in-depth look at the church grounds.

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