Thursday, June 19, 2008

Admiring Marmorkirken (Fredriks Kirke)

As you arrive in Copenhagen you cannot avoid seeing the dome of Marmorkirken (Marble Church) rising over the roofs of the Danish capital. Located by Bredgaden close to Amalienborg, the royal residence it is visible over much of the city. We admired this beautiful architectural monument during a promenade that took us from Amadeus Conditori, on to Amalienborg Palace with a view to the new opera house ending at Nyhavn where we enjoyed a few very good glasses of cava.

The history of the present church are close to 270 years old, designed by Nicolai Eigtved in 1740 and was erected as to the 300 jubilee of the first crowning of a member of the House of Oldenburg. Nicolai Eigtved found the inspiration for his original designs in classic Roman architecture, probably the Pantheon in Rome.

The process from design to completion was long and complicated. King Fredrik VI laid down the foundation stone October 31st 1749, but due to budget cuts and the death of Eigtved in 1754 the church was left incomplete. As most of Eigtveds plans were discarded in 1770 the church as you see it today is based on designs by another architect, Ferdinand Meldahl and it was paid for by Carl Frederik Tietgen. It was opened August 19, 1894.

As you look up it is easy to be impressed by the enormous church dome, in fact the largest in Scandinavia with a span of 31 metres or nearly 100ft.

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