Royal Brick Gothic

It’s All in the Bricks

Roskilde Cathedral (Roskilde Domkirke) was the first Gothic cathedral constructed of brick, a style which spread throughout Northern Europe. The building was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Cathedral has been the last resting place of Danish monarchs since the 15th century.

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Exterior Textures

Exterior wall, 13th/14th century, Aarhus Cathedral, Aarhus, Denmark

Originally a Romanesque basilica, Aarhus Cathedral was started in the last decades of the 12th Century, was partially destroyed by a fire in 1330, and enlarged into its present form as a Gothic cathedral between 1450 and 1520. The outer walls and the chapels along the eastern wall of the transept are the only surviving Romanesque elements. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Clement. It is the longest and tallest church in Denmark.

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Bits and Pieces of Aarhus

I’ve been in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, for three days. It is a lovely city with many reasons to visit. I only made it to a few.

Many years ago the city filled in its canal and made it a street. They came to their senses and restored the canal.

Aarhus Cathedral was begun in 1191 but not finished until about 1500.

With the Reformation in 1563, the church was stripped of its frescoes and Catholic art.

The Lutherans went a bit overboard and reoriented the altar to the middle of the church. New pews were added in 1587. At some point the altar was moved back to the apse, so now about 1/3 of the pews face backwards.

Aarhus has a wonderful open air cultural and historical museum, Den Gamle By (The Old Town), Danish buildings from the 16th through the 20th century are open. I spent several hours exploring.

Møllestien is a lovely cobbled street with colorful 18th-century houses. The owners and tenants must get tired of the tourists.

I don’t know what this ad is for but it fascinated me.

New construction dominates the waterfront, including Dokk1, a new cultural center, exhibition space, and library.


There is so much more to see but I am headed out tomorrow. I recommend Aarhus and wish I had another day.

Pink It Is #15

It’s Really Not This Pink Pink

Cathedral of Saint Sauveur, wall decoration in the sacristy/apse, Aix-en-Provence, France

The apse/choir of Aix’s Gothic cathedral was painted in the 19th century, influenced by the restoration of Sainte Chapelle in Paris, which was taking place at approximately the same time. I went a little crazy with the clarity and vibrancy but the pinks really are pink.

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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.


Patterned Marble

Base of pipe organ/entry into choir, Seville Cathedral, Spain

The marble atrium supports one of two pipe organs in the Seville Cathedral. The doors open into the sides of the choir, giving access to the stalls. The original organs were built in the 17th and 18th centuries but were later destroyed in an earthquake. This architectural element dates much later than the cathedral itself, which is the world’s largest Gothic church.

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