Aarhus Cathedral

Aarhus, Denmark

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 and the beautiful chapels along the eastern wall of the transept are the only surviving Romanesque elements today.

The Cathedral, as it otherwise stands today, is the result of radical rebuilding in the Gothic style, undertaken from 1449 till about 1500, transforming the heavy and sombre building into a Gothic cathedral, inspired by the great contemporary churches in the Hanseatic towns around the Baltic Sea. Considerable height completed with cross- and star vaulting was added to the nave as well as to the aisles and the transept. The culmination however was the altogether reconstructed and enlarged chancel, now with three naves of the same height, an ambulatory and 13 high, pointed windows throwing cascades of light into this bright space.

With a length of 93 metres Århus Cathedral is the longest church in Denmark, and it seats approx. 1200 people. From the beginning it was dedicated to St Clement, the patron saint of sailors.

Århus Cathedral has largest total area of walls and arches covered by frescoes in Denmark. The paintings of St. Christopher and St. Clement are the tallest in the country. Other frescoes include St George and the Dragon, a three-tier picture representing Purgatory, The Day of Judgment, St Michael the Weigher of Souls, and numerous others. The frescoes were all made between 1470 and 1520, except the one surrounding the socalled leprosy window in the northwest corner of the Cathedral. It was painted in about 1300, and it is the oldest piece of art in the cathedral, the only one left from the Romanesque church.

The cathedral has a wonderful altarpiece carved by the famous Lübeck sculptor and painter Bernt Notke. It was dedicated on Easter Sunday 1479 and is one of Denmark's great treasures. The altarpiece is unusual in that it has movable sections, so different scenes may be viewed during the liturgical calendar. The pulpit was carved in oak by sculptor Michael von Groningen and dedicated in 1588. The baptismal font was created in copper by the famous bell maker, Peter Hansen of Flensborg, in 1481.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Denmark
Historical period: The First Kingdom (Denmark)


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User Reviews

John Carr (Corinne and John) (10 months ago)
Very interesting Danish church, the longest and tallest in the country. The cathedral building was completed in 1500 in the Gothic style.
Nikos Gkekas (10 months ago)
Aarhus Cathedral is a Church of Denmark cathedral that was previously a part of the Roman Catholic church. The Gothic and Romanesque cathedral was completed in 1300 and dedicated to St. Clement, the patron saint of sailors. Construction of the church started around 1190. It was built around St. Clement's church, a timber church built in 1102. The Romanesque architectural style included half-rounded arches, a flat timber ceiling and four chapels. The cathedral suffered great damage in 1330 when a fire burned much of Aarhus. It was abandoned until 1449 when it was renovated and enlarged. The new design of the church used Gothic vaulting with high windows and a lengthened nave. It is now both the tallest and longest church in Denmark at 305 feet long and 315 feet high. The current, 314-foot tower was built in 1931. There are more frescoes in Aarhus Cathedral than in any church in the country. They were painted between 1470 and 1520. Likewise, the painting of St. Christopher and St. Clement are the tallest in Denmark. The cathedral's one stained glass window was created by Emanuel Vigeland in 1926. At almost 46-feet tall, it is the largest stained glass window in Denmark.
Vin Chenzo (10 months ago)
Amazing free cathedral to visit. The tallest in Denmark You can also go up the 150 steps to the tower which comes DKK 20. A must visit if going to Aarhus.
Anthony Chan (11 months ago)
One of the most beautiful cathedral in Denmark. Free entrance and friendly staff.
Ciprian Palaghean (15 months ago)
The longest and the tallest (so the biggest) church in Denmark. Nice piece of frescoes..where you can see medieval danish paintings. Although just a few frescoes, it is also the church with the most SQM of paintings in Denmark . It has the biggest stained glass..14 m tall..made by norvegian artist Vigeland (see the Vigeland park in Oslo )
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