Monday, June 30, 2008

Rosenborg Castle - a royal country house

Christian IV was Denmarks renaissance ruler. He built palaces and planned new cities. He rebuilt Akershus Castle in Oslo and Kronborg Castle in Helsingør. Scandinavian cities as Kristiansand, Christiania and Kristianstad bear his name. In the middle of Copenhagen he built Rosenborg Palace as his country residence in the period 1606-1624. The present castle is designed in Dutch renaissance style by the Danish-Flemish architect Hans van Steenwinckel. It is one of the most beautiful renaissance building I know.

We discovered during our stay that most of the castle was closed due to renovation. This includes the beautiful large gallery with an exquisite stucco roof. Only the ground floor was open, and we were able to admire the 400 year old interior in a few rooms.

Christian IV did not find the old castle in Copenhagen suitable for a renaissance king. In 1606 he built a small "lysthus", a small residence, that still form a nucleus of the present building. The house was extended and around it he commissioned a garden. Kongens Have or the Royal Garden is the oldest park in Denmark, still a large green lung in today's city, then located in the countryside.

The rooms are dark and richly decorated. The black and white floors, walls and even ceilings are decorated with paintings.

There are also a great number of the kings artifacts. Most of them are found in the vaulted cellars. Here you find the Danish Crown Regalia (will be presented in a separate story). There are also clothes preserved as this richly embroidered jacket with a lace collar. This is how a king was dressed 400 years ago.

Rosenborg Castle is one of my favourite sights in the Danish capital, and you are recommended to visit this architectural pearl. It gives you a great idea how a renaissance ruler lived 4 centuries ago.

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