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This large baroque church in the Christianshavn district of Copenhagen is one of Denmark's major tourist attractions. With its twisted spire, the church is a national treasure, but also a living parish church for about 8000 people.

Buildings from the baroque period are rather rare in Denmark. When, in 1660, following long and bloody wars, Denmark lost the southern part of what is now Sweden, King Frederik III introduced an hereditary absolute monarchy and it was his son, Christian V, the first to be born as an absolute monarch, who was to cement absolutism through an impressive building style. Our Saviour's Church (Vor Frelsers Kirke) was his greatest work and his monogram is to be seen in many parts of the church. Since he also made the Order of the Elephant into the most prominent of the Danish orders, the elephant decoration is also to be found in the church, both in the stucco work and on the organ plinth.

The spire of the church was consecrated in 1752, more than 50 years after the building of the church had been completed. After more than 250 years as an internationally noted landmark of Copenhagen, the tower and spire now stand in all their splendour following the last great restoration in the 1990s. The city has grown in the meantime, but the view from the tower of Our Saviour's is still the best in town - and the most frightening. It has always been regarded as somewhat of a manhood test to climb up and touch the globe on the summit. That the whole spire is built of oak which can shake a little in a strong wind, adds to the sinking feeling as one stands at the top. The tower on Copenhagen Town Hall is 14 metres taller. The tallest church tower in Denmark on Århus Cathedral is three metres taller but no tower in Denmark can match the beauty of Our Saviour's tower as the evening sun shines on the gilding ‘like a tongue of fire' (Thurah's Vitruvius III)
The architect Lauritz de Thurah (1706-1759) designed the spire, his greatest work, and had it approved and paid for by Christian VI. He was inspired by the university chapel of St. Ivo in Rome where Borromini's Renaissance tower also has an external spiral form. While Borromini built in sandstone, de Thurah used oak, making it possible to achieve the great height of the spire.

The spire consists of an external staircase with four twists, starting from the gallery and continuing all the way up. On the way towards the top, the visitor is protected by a gilded iron grating. At the top is a gilded globe from which the gilded figure of Christ with banner looks out over the city.
The dimensions of the spire are considerable. It is 90 metres from the ground to Christ's banner and there are 400 steps to be climbed, of which, the last 150 wind around the outside of the spire. The globe at the top can contain 12 grown men and is 2.5 metres in diameter, the Christ figure is three metres tall.

http://www.vorfrelserskirke.dk/

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Additional Photos by Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 307 W: 125 N: 954] (6557)
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