Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Holmens Kirke, anno 1619

Holmens Kirke is located on the side of Holmens Kanal in central Copenhagen, close to the Stock Exchange and Christiansborg Castle. It has escaped the major fires that has ravaged Copenhagen through the centuries and here you may experience one of the most original 17
th century church interiors in the city.

Building on this site goes back to 1562-1563 when Christian IVs father and predecessor Fredrik II constructed a anchor forge here. As this modest building was visible from the Royal Palace the forge was hidden behind a fake Italian gable facing the royal residence.

Christian IV started construction of new quarters for the navy at Bremerholmen, and as the population increased quickly, a church for the sailors was badly needed. The king decided to convert the old forge into a church. The tower was built separated from the small church.

As the population increased further the church soon became too small. It was extended in 1641 into a cross shaped structure supervised by Leonard Blasius. It is said that the church was modeled after Glücksborg castle, the ancestral home of the royal family in Schleswig Holstein.

Since then it has escaped most of the disasters that has transformed Copenhagen during the centuries.

A large mausoleum was added to the church in 1705, in a hope that burials of influential people would give the church extra financial contribution. Here you find graves of many famous Danes, including the famous Danish officer, Baron Niels Juel and the Danish-Norwegian admiral and war hero Petter Wessel Tordenskjold.

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