Church of Our Saviour

Copenhagen, Denmark

Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke) is a baroque church, most famous for its corkscrew spire with an external winding staircase that can be climbed to the top, offering extensive views over central Copenhagen. It is also noted for its carillon, which is the largest in northern Europe and plays melodies every hour from 8 am to midnight.

When Christian IV planned Christianshavn in 1617, it was intended as an independent merchant's town on the island of Amager and it therefore needed a church. A temporary church was inaugurated in 1639 but construction of the present Church of Our Saviour, the design of Lambert van Haven, did not start until 1682. The church was inaugurated 14 years later in 1695 but important interior features like the altar had a notoriously temporary character and the tower still had no spire. The church got its permanent altar in 1732 but plans for construction of the spire was not revitalized until 1747 under the reign of Frederik V. The new architect on the project was Lauritz de Thurah. He soon abandoned van Haven´'s original design in favour of his own project that was approved by the King in 1749. Three years later the spire was finished and the King climbed the tower at a ceremony on 28 August 1752.

The church is built in a Dutch baroque style and its basic layout is a Greek cross. The walls rest on a granite foundation and are made of red and yellow tiles but in a random pattern unlike what is seen in Christian IV's buildings where they are generally systematically arranged. The facade is segmented by pilasters in the palladian giant order, that is they continue in the building's entire height. The pilasters are of the Tuscan order with bases and capitals in sandstone. The cornice is also in sandstone but with a frieze in tiles. Between the pilasters are tallround-arched windows with clear glass and iron cames. There are entrances at the gable of the cross arms except for the eastern gable where the sacristy is added. The main entrance is in the western gable below the tower and has a sandstone portal. All entrances are raised four steps from street level. At each side of the tower, there is a gate at street level leading to the two crypts of the church. The roof is vaulted and covered in black-glazed tiles.

The altarpiece is the work of Nicodemus Tessins the Younger. It depicts a scene from the Garden of Gethsemane between two columns, where Jesus is comforted by an angel while another angel hangs in the air beside them, carrying the golden chalice. On each side, two figures of Pietas and Justitia illustrate the King's motto. The two columns carry a broken, curved architrave and gable. Behind the opening of the broken gable is placed a pane with Jahve's name in Hebrew inscribed and lit from behind. Around the pane is an arrangement of gilded beans and cloud formations.



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Founded: 1695
Category: Religious sites in Denmark
Historical period: Absolutism (Denmark)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ali Cetiner (18 months ago)
I stayed in Copenhagen for 3 days. I simply had to bike on a rental here at the beginning of each day to enjoy the beautiful cityscape of the city despite the cold March weather. It was simply too entertaining to climb the spiral stairs fitted on the baroque roof of this church and also chuckle at those with shaky legs who are scared to climb in open air an altitude so high. That is most certainly something that you can do only in this particular church and none others in the world.
Shivashim Bhowmick (2 years ago)
It is absolutely reaching the sky, a wonderful experience of meeting the heights of Denmark. It is beautiful and an awesome experience to get to the top and view the beautiful city of Copenhagen. Must go place in Copenhagen
Gianmarco Boschi (2 years ago)
Very nice thing to do in Copenhagen. The view is great. Inside the stairs are quite narrow and you often have to let people pass (up or down). Once outside you can reach the top until the golden sphere. Don’t do it if you have problems with heights. The price is 35 for adults and 25 for students/reduced.
Imelda FS (2 years ago)
Looking for beautiful view on city of Copenhagen? Then stop here and take a look! The real deal is waiting for you on top of the tower. Definitely worth couple stairs to walk. You will get super nice shoot for city pictures!
Maria Fomitšenko (2 years ago)
I really liked this church. It’s easy to spot this church already from far away because of its intriguing tower, namely this spiral fence on a roof. Wonder if there are stairs? In case there is and you can go up on the top. Only over 100 stairs and you can enjoy the view on the city. Stairs are slippery on a rainy days, be careful, also the way up is complicated if there are a lot of people going up and down, not so much space. In the church itself is also one beautiful organ (musical instrument), which catches your eye. Otherwise inside is quite empty I would say. You can visit inside for free but going up will cost a bit. I recommend
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