Roskilde Cathedral | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde, Region Zealand, Denmark

Lucy Davidson

06 Jul 2021

About Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral (Roskilde Domkirke) in Northwest Zealand in Denmark is an imposing gothic structure imbued with centuries of history. Constructed in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Roskilde Cathedral is resplendent with looming spires and contains a wealth of sculptures and wall paintings.

History of Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral was constructed as a Romanesque structure in around 1170, but subsequent porches, chapels, and other structures were added, which each represented the architectural style of the time.

Since the eleventh century, Denmark’s monarchs have been buried at Roskilde Cathedral. The thirty eight royal tombs found there include those of Sweyn I Forkbeard, Christian IV, Frederik II, and Frederik III. Christian IV’s burial place is particularly opulent. Legend also has it that the remains of Harald I Bluetooth, the Viking warrior, are hidden there, but this has never been confirmed.

One of the most interesting aspects of Roskilde Cathedral is its storm bell, which is one of the oldest in Denmark.

Since 1995, Roskilde Cathedral has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is primarily for two reasons: firstly, because the historic cathedral demonstrates 800 years of European architectural styles, and secondly, it is one of the earliest examples in Scandinavia of a Gothic cathedral to be built in brick, and thus encouraged the spread of the Brick Gothic style throughout Northern Europe. The fascinating building also features as one of our top visitor attractions in Denmark.

Roskilde Cathedral Today

Today, the cathedral is a major tourist attraction, hosting over 165,000 visitors annually. It is also a working church, and holds a number of concerts throughout the year.

Getting to Roskilde Cathedral

The cathedral can be reached by train from Copenhagen Train Station in just 30 minutes. From the Roskilde train station, it is a 10 minute walk through the picturesque city centre. From the centre of Copenhagen, the cathedral is a 35-40 minute drive via Route 21, or a scenic two hour cycle via Route 156.

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Denmark Historic Sites

Discover the best Historic Sites in Denmark, from Frederiksborg Castle to the Viking Ship Museum and more, includes an interactive map of Danish cultural landmarks and monuments.

Christian IV Sites

Follow in the footsteps of Christian IV from Rosenborg Castle to Roskilde Cathedral and more, includes an interactive map.

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