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Other Top Points From Copenhagen, Denmark

Amager Strandpark
Amalienborg Palace
Arken Art Museum
Bethel Hotel
Botanisk Have
Carlsberg Brewery
Casino Copenhagen
Clarion Hotel
Copenhagen Airport
Copenhagen Bymuseum
Copenhagen Harbor
Copenhagen Zoo
HC Orstedsparken
Hilton Hotel
Holmens Kirke
Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Hotel D Angleterre
Ice Bar - Hotel 27
Illums Bolighus
Krogs Fiskerestaurant
Marriott Hotel
Nyhavn Canal
Palace Hotel
Restaurant Chili
Rosenborg Castle
Royal Danish Arsenal Museum
St Alban's Church
The Little Mermaid
Tivoli Gardens
Trekroner Sea Fort

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Frederikskirke (Marble Church)

Address: Frederiksgade 4

In many ways this landmark church is more richly decorated and impressive than Copenhagen's cathedral, Vor Frue Kirke. Instead of Frederikskirke, Danes often call this building Marmorkirken (Marble Church). Lying just a short walk from Amalienborg Palace, it began unsuccessfully in 1749. The original plan was to use "quarries" of expensive Norwegian marble.
The treasury dried up in 1770, and work came to a halt. It wasn't resumed until late in the 19th century when an industrialist, C. F. Tietgen, put up the money for its completion. This time a cheaper Danish marble was used instead. The original design was for neoclassical revival, but in the end the church was constructed in the Roman baroque style, opening in 1894. Inspired by Michelangelo's dome for St. Peter's in Rome, the Danish church was crowned with a copper dome, measuring 46m (151 ft.) high, making it one of the largest in the world.

The Marmorkirken (or Marble Church) is located close to the Ameilenborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark. I had been inside the church previously and marvelled at the gorgeous artwork on the dome (one of the largest domed churches in Europe), admired the fancy swan organ, and tried to imagine how such a gorgeous building came to be.

On my recent trip to Copenhagen, I paid 2 crowns for the history of the building and another 20 crowns to ascend to the top of the dome.

A sign inside the church mentioned that tours were given promptly at 1 and 3 pm daily. A church employee appeared 5 minutes prior to 3 pm and advised the tour lasted approximately half an hour. Another 15 people joined us, and we ascended to the interior of the dome and walked along the edge, separated from abyss by only a metal rail. The dome is huge...so the circumfrance is massive, and you really feel the weight of nothingness if you look down or (especially) across. It was, nonetheless, a stunning perspective on the church and really gave you a better feeling for the architectural achievement it represents. Still, I looked down on the church faithful and tourists, and wondered "why the heck am I doing this??" (I am a bit afraid of heights - and would not recommend this to the faint of heart)...and we were not even finished going up!

We went through another door into a white room with some pamphlets and books on the church (here you could pick up the history of the church for free vs. the 2 crowns I had paid below). At this point, I thought, great, that was pretty interesting, time to go. However, we then approached another doorway and made our way into a small vestibule with an EXTREMELY narrow and vertical ascent to the top exterior of the dome. It took awhile - or maybe it just seemed that way. There were kids with their parents, and they were fine; there were some older people as well, and they had no problems. Generally, however, people held on to the handrails and didn't hurry either going up or down (which made me feel less of a baby.)

The view from outside was beautiful. Probably the closest thing Copenhagen has to a view from the CN Tower/Sears Tower/Empire State Building. Right below the Marble Church were the Onion Domes of a Russian Orthodox Church, glinting golden in the spring sunshine. There was a fantastic view of Ameilenborg Palace in its' geometric perfection, and of the new Opera House across the harbour. You could see the soldiers quarters from a few hundred years ago and all the perfectly designed apartment blocks. In the distance you could see Rosenborg Slot, the Castle where the Danish crown jewels are kept. Also, it was LESS frightening for someone afraid of heights, probably because there was more room to manouevre (and you could even sit down). One of the kids, an eleven year old boy was nonchalantly talking on his cell phone as he leaned on the metal railing - I was safely a foot behind him my back against the dome as I sat on a wooden plank...so maybe I am a bit of a baby.

This was a great tour, definitely worth doing to get a different perspective on Copenhagen. However, I would not recommend it if you are not in minimally decent shape, have a fear of confined spaces or of heights. Finally, it would not be worth doing if it is a foggy day, as the exterior view of the dome is what lasts longest on the tour. Still, if you are in Copenhagen and want to get a sense of the architectural unity of the city, this is the place to do it.

Frederikskirke (Marble Church) Map

Emerald Princess Baltic Cruise Guide
by Fafos & Grjava, 2009
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