June 27, 2019

Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark

Roskilde is not only known for Viking Ship Museum but it is popular because one of Denmark’s most important building is located here. Roskilde Cathedral is the first gothic cathedral in Scandinavia. For more than 800 years, it is part of Denmark history for being one of the earliest major ecclesiastical building that is made of brick. At that time, the art of brick making had just been introduced in the country.

Read: Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde Denmark 

The cathedral was built in 1170 and the construction lasted for more than 100 years. It reflects the evolution of Northern European church architecture and it is a mixture of new, old and very old. You can see the changing styles in the chapels, porches, towers, and spires. Most importantly, this cathedral is filled with the treasures of Danish kings and queens. There are 39 Danish kings and queens that are buried in the chapels and sarcophagi. Roskilde Cathedral is also part of UNESCO World Heritage List since 1995.

Don’t forget to include this in your itinerary if ever you are going to Roskilde, Denmark. It is walking distance from Roskilde Train Station. In fact, you will pass this cathedral on your way to the Viking Ship Museum. So after visiting the Viking Ship Museum, we went straight to the Roskilde Cathedral. It is FREE with Copenhagen Card.

Trivia: When we reached the Roskilde Cathedral, we thought it was closed so we just took a picture outside the church then we walked again. Good thing that I saw someone went out at the side door so I was able to see the Entrance Door.

The door is called The King's Door, this is used as an entrance only for royal guests and exit after wedding, confirmation, and funeral. The door has a golden appearance but is made of bronze that has been polished and patinated.

Visiting churches is not exciting if you have kids in tow because most of the time they won’t appreciate it but I’m thankful that the cathedral has a treasure hunt game for kids. So my son joined the “Find the Gold in Roskilde Cathedral” game. He needs to find 10 old treasures and find the code word. He got a postcard prize after completing the treasure hunt in certain minutes. I’m not sure if it is 15 minutes but it is like an amazing race inside the church.

I also learned a lot from his treasure hunt game because there are trivia inside the booklet. There are a lot of treasures but let me share some of it. Here are the 10 Golden Treasures that you can find inside the Roskilde Cathedral.

1. St. Andrew’s Chapel - It is not very old- only 8 years old but there are may golden pieces. The picture is made of 56,000 small squares.

2. Christian 9 (IX) - travel 100 years back in the time of Christian IX. He is the great-great-grandfather of the current Queen Margrethe 2. The coffin is called sarcophagus and it has two golden crowns, a sword and a scepter on top. The three women around the sarcophagus show love, grief and memory.

3. Christian 7 (VII) - was buried in a black coffin in a fine room together with the other kings and queens. He lived 250 years ago. On the coffin is an hourglass to show that time is running. The figure holding the coffin is called Sphinx.

4. Knight Hahn’s Suit of Armour - The suit of armor is 340 years old. On it are the flowers that are gilded, which means that they are made of silver and covered with gold. This is the knight Joachim Hahn’s funeral armor; it was only used for his funeral and has never been used in battle.

5. Christian 4 (IV) - was king over 400 years ago and was at war with the Swedes several times. Once a cannonball hit his ship and he lost the sight on one eye. Christian IV built many buildings including The Round Tower in Copenhagen.

6. The Pulpit - Christian IV ordered a pulpit for the Cathedral. The pulpit is 400 years old and it is made of stone, wood, and plaster, and covered with gold. Here the priest preaches or talks about the Bible.

7. Altarpiece- was made in Belgium almost 500 years ago. The pictures tell the stories of Jesus’ life and death.

8. The Old Clock - with Saint George and the dragon is over 500 years old! Every hour Saint George kills the dragon and the dragon wails.

9. The Sword - on the wall in the Chapel of Magi hangs a sword. This belonged to Christian I, who died 650 years ago. It is said that he was a giant king. His height marked with C! on Column of Kings in the middle of the chapel.

10. Margrete I - about 700 years ago, Margrete I was the queen of both Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Her funeral lasted for 3 days.

Note: Closed during the church ceremony

Read: Day 1 in Copenhagen Denmark 

Roskilde Cathedral 
Domkirkepladsen 3 
4000 Roskilde

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