Friday, July 08, 2005

Copenhagen's Wierd towers

Sadly I have been side-tracked today by events in London, so it seems a complete report will not be forthcoming on my trip for a while - maybe I will upload to the website only?

I did mention yesterday two of the oddest towers in my churchcrawling experience, so feel that this blog and a couple of pics may keep you all entertained. The Copenhagen towers concerned are that belonging to Trinity church, and the other to Our Saviour's church.

Trinity church's tower was built in 1636, in brick and is circular. You can ascend the tower for a fine view of the city which we did. The surprise is how you ascend the tower. A close look at the exterior hints at what is to come. Tall pilasters seperate tiers of seven or eight windows which are not in alignment with their neighbours. Inside a wide continuous brick floored ramp ascends clockwise to the top, towards the outer wall the ascent is fairly gentle, towards the centre steeper but a shorter distance. Peter the Great apparently road his horse to the top with Catherine I Empress of Russia driving a carriage up behind him (1716). Behind the parapet a further stage reached by a short flight of steps contains a telescope (C20 now) and an observatory. From here it was possible to view the sun and see the solar flares! The church itself is of a similar period rebuilt after a fire in 1728. It contains the largest wall mounted cabinet clock I have seen and was perhaps my favourite Copenhagen interior.

Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviour) was the first tower I saw as we entered the central parts of the city in the taxi from the airport. However I did not visit the church or climb the tower until Tuesday, our last full day in the city. The church dates from 1682-96, but the steeple was not built until 1752. To get to the top was far more exhausting - 400 steps, first up a wide four sided staircase in the flanking bay of the tower, then up the tower's upper stages on a much narrower wooden stair among the bells, and finally a copper spiral staircase with a pretty balustrade on the OUTSIDE of the spire. At the top it just peters out into the ball finial. I am usually OK with heights but as I turned I realised how little there was to save me from falling and I had to descend a little to a wider stair as a touch of vertigo afflicted me - it was actually my holding up the camera to take the view to the north that started it, plus a pair of helicopters practising for Bush-escort duties roaring past on their way from the country palace north of the city to the airport.