Top Historic Sights in Aarhus, Denmark

Explore the historic highlights of Aarhus

Aarhus Old Town

The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen. The museum buildings are orga ...
Founded: 1914 | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus Cathedral

The building of Århus Cathedral was started in the last decades of the 12th Century by Peter Vognsen, a member of famous aristocratic family Hviderne. He was ordained as a Bishop in 1191. The Cathedral - a magnificent Romanesque basilica - was a gigantic project and not finished until about 1350. Red bricks were used, a kind of material not otherwise used in Denmark before approx. 1160. The outer walls of this Cathedral ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus Theatre

The Aarhus Theatre (Aarhus Teater) is the largest provincial theatre in Denmark. The present theatre house constructed in the late 19th century as a replacement for the old theatre, nicknamed 'Svedekassen'. Since Aarhus had grown to be Jutland's biggest city during the 19th century, the old theatre had become too small for the public. The new building was designed by the Danish architect Hack Kampmann (1856–1920), and t ...
Founded: 1898-1900 | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady is one of the largest churches of Aarhus, Denmark. The church was originally known as St. Nicholas" Church but was expanded by the construction of a Dominican priory in 1240, the Vor Frue Kloster (Our Lady"s Priory), of which the present church formed the southern wing. After the Reformation in Denmark, the name was changed to the Church of Our Lady and King Christian III decreed th ...
Founded: 1060 | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Marselisborg Palace

In 1661, a debt-ridden King Frederik III had to hand over to one of his creditors, the Dutch merchant Gabriel Marselis, one of the crown properties in Jutland-an estate called Havreballegaard. Two of the merchant’s sons moved to Denmark and settled in the Aarhus area. One son, Constantin Marselis, later got Havreballegaard raised to the status of a baronetcy called Marselisborg. He died childless and entrusted the baron ...
Founded: 1899-1902 | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.