Scan Magazine, Issue 91, August 2016

Page 112

Scan Magazine | Culture Profile | Roskilde Domkirke

Discover 1,000 years of Danish history under one roof Roskilde Cathedral’s history dates back to the 980s when, according to legend, Harald Bluetooth, the Viking king who Christened the Danes, built a church in Roskilde. The cathedral, as we see it today with its high-vaulted ceiling, frescos and millions of bricks, has evolved and changed over the centuries to now include the graves of 39 kings and queens, while also being a UNESCO World Heritage site. By Josefine Older Steffensen | Photos: Jan Friis

Roskilde Cathedral has a rich history that not only shows the development of Christianity in Denmark, but also the changes in European architecture during a period spanning a thousand years. You can sense the history as soon as you step through the doors and start to explore the cathedral, which is still in use today.

Early beginnings Around 1170, bishop Absalon started the construction of a new cathedral, taking 112 | Issue 91 | August 2016

a hundred years and 1.5 million bricks to complete. Under the influence of the incoming new Gothic style from France, as seen in the famous cathedrals of Notre Dame and St. Denis, Roskilde Cathedral became a church building never seen before in Scandinavia. Although the Romans had used bricks for centuries, it became a lost art when the Roman Empire collapsed. However, it was rediscovered in the 1100s and

used for Roskilde Cathedral. “With the use of bricks in combination with the new Gothic style, the construction of Roskilde Cathedral had a profound influence on the spread of bricks as a building material throughout Northern Europe,” explains David Høyer, the heritage and visitor manager of Roskilde Cathedral. “Roskilde Cathedral was the first Gothic structure in Scandinavia, and perhaps even outside France. It started an architectural revolution in Denmark away from wood and towards brick.”

Uniting Denmark, Norway and Sweden Queen Margaret I (1353-1412) united the three Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden under Danish rule just before her death. She was buried in a small church in Denmark,

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