Church of Our Saviour - History and Facts | History Hit

Church of Our Saviour

Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark

Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen is a 17th century baroque creation famed for its twirling spire.

About Church of Our Saviour

Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke) in Copenhagen, Denmark is a 17th century creation famed for its twirling spire with external staircase. Built in the baroque style during the reign of Christian V, construction of this picturesque building was begun in 1680 and would take 14 years. It was consecrated on 19 April 1696.

Still a working parish today, Church of Our Saviour is home to a carillon, which chimes on Saturdays at 4pm.

History of Church of Our Saviour

The Church of Our Saviour is one of Denmark’s most famous churches.

When the former King of Denmark and Norway planned Christianshavn in 1617, it was intended to be an independent merchant’s town, and therefore needed a church. A temporary church was inaugurated in 1639, but construction of the current church did not begin until 1682.

The church was inaugurated in 1695, though had a temporary altar and a tower with no spire. The permanent altar was installed in 1732, and plans for the spire began in 1747 under the reign of Frederik V. After a number of obstacles, the spire was finished three years later, and the King climbed the tower at a ceremony in 1752.

The church is built in a Dutch baroque style and its basic layout is made of a Greek cross. The walls are made of red and yellow tiles in a random pattern.

The altarpiece, called ‘Tessin’s Altarpiece’, is considered to be a masterpiece. It depicts a scene with Jesus and two angels in the Garden of Gethsemane. The enormous organ with Christian V’s gilded monogram was built from 1698-1700 and is supported by two elephant sculptures. Its more than 4000 pipes and original cymbelstern produce the same noise that would have been heard 300 years ago.

The famous black and gold tower and spire is 90m tall with an external staircase turning four times counterclockwise around it.

Church of Our Saviour Today

The church is hugely popular with tourists and locals alike. Each year, more than 60,000 people climb the many flights of stairs and 90m above street level to enjoy panoramic views from the top of the church.

The church arranges 15 to 20 concerts every year together with musical church services on Sundays.

Getting to Church of Our Saviour

From the centre of Copenhagen, the church is reachable in 25 minutes by foot, via Vester Voldgade. By car, it’s a 7 minute drive, via H. C. Andersen’s Boulevard, and Amager Boul. The city is also very well-connected by bus.


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Explore the Viking past at Jelling or visit the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet at Kronborg Castle. Denmark's historic sites are wide-ranging and beguiling.