Roskilde Cathedral

The resting place of Denmark’s kings and queens

I took a short train ride to Roskilde today to visit the Roskilde Cahedral. It is famous because it is the first Gothic church built from brick and it is the burial site of Denmark’s kings and queens.

The original brick church was begun in the 1170s, shortly after brick making was introduced. Several earlier churches had been built on the site.

Until the Reformation in 1563, the cathedral was a Catholic church. It is now the Church of Denmark, which is Lutheran. Most of the frescoes and ornamentation from before 1563 was destroyed or covered.

Some earlier decoration still exists in a few side chapels, which hold sarcophagi and funerary monuments. Ceiling from the Chapel of the Magi, mid 15th-century.

I was amused by the nude woman on the pulpit staircase. Even for the early 17th-century, this seems very risque for Lutherans. Maybe it is Eve, or Salome.

The sarcophagus of Queen Margrete I, dated 1423.

The glass sarcophagus in which the current queen, Margrethe II, will be buried is under this covering. Her husband Prince Henrik, who died last year, refused to be buried in Roskilde because he had never been made king.

I have always admired Protestant churches for something you don’t find in many Gothic Catholic churches: central heating.

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