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11.11.2020

Church of Our Saviour, Copenhagen

Church of the Savior - Baroque church in Copenhagen, Denmark, best known for its spiral spire with an external spiral staircase, which can climb to the top, which offers a wide view of the center of Copenhagen. It is also known for its carillon, which is the largest in Northern Europe and plays melodies every hour from 8 am to midnight.

When Christian IV planned Christianshavn in 1617, it was conceived as an independent merchant town on Amager Island and therefore needed a church. The temporary church was inaugurated in 1639, but construction of the current Church of the Savior, designed by Lambert van Haven, began only in 1682. The church was opened 14 years later, in 1695, but important interior elements, such as the altar, were deliberately temporary. The church received its permanent altar in 1732, but plans to build a spire did not come to life until 1747 in the reign of Frederick V . The new architect of the project was Lauritz de Tura. He soon abandoned the original design of van Haven in favor of his own project, which was approved by the King in 1749. Three years later was completed spire, and the king climbed the tower at a ceremony on August 28, 1752.

There is an old urban legend saying that the architect killed himself by jumping from the top of the spire when he realized that the spiral was rotating in the wrong direction - counterclockwise. We are not talking about Lambert van Haven, because the spire was attached to the church almost 50 years after his death, but about the creator of the spiral spire Lauridse de Turach. However, there is no truth in the myth, as Tura died in his bed seven years after the spire was completed, and there is nothing in the records that indicates that he must have been somehow dissatisfied with his work.

The church was built in Dutch Baroque style, and its main layout is a Greek cross. The walls are based on granite foundations and are made of red and yellow tiles, but with arbitrary pattern, unlike the buildings of Christian IV, where they are usually located systematically. The facade is segmented by pilasters in the style of Palladian giants, that is, they continue to the full height of the building. Pilasters Tuscan order with a base and capitals of sandstone . The cornice is also in sandstone, but with frieze tiles. Between the pilasters high arched windows with transparent glass and iron frames . There are entrances to the gable crosses, with the exception of the eastern gable, where the sacristy is added . The main entrance is in the western gable under the tower and has a portal made of sandstone. All entrances are four steps above street level. On each side of the tower there is a gate at street level, leading to the two crypts of the church. The vaulted roof is covered with black glazed tiles.

The tower rises three floors above the western traverse. The levels are marked by sandstone cornices, which increase with height, and on each level on all four sides there are round arched openings. The upper level is decorated with flat pilasters and from the uppermost cornice has a gold-plated dial in the center of each side. The hands are connected with the clock mechanism inside the tower.

The black and gold spire reaches a height of 90 meters, and the external staircase turns around it four times counterclockwise. The design was inspired by the spiral light of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, which rotates in the same way.

It is built in the form of a wooden frame, octagonal in the base, with round arched openings and round windows with gilded frames. The windows frame the gilded pilasters in a complex order . Around the octagonal base of the spire at the four corners of the square tower are four statues of the four evangelists. The octagonal structure is topped with a small platform with gilded railing, and it is from this place the staircase becomes external. There are only 400 steps to the top of the spire, the last 150 are outside.

The spire is topped with a vaselike structure, on which stands a gilded ball with a 4-meter figure of Christ the Victor, carrying the banner . It has a notorious reputation as the ugliest sculpture in Copenhagen, but it is deliberately made with exaggerated proportions because it can only be seen from a long distance.

The church's tower is equipped with a concert carillon from 1928, which was rebuilt in 1980 and consists of 48 bronze carillon bells with a musical range of four octaves, making it the largest carillon in Northern Europe. The largest bells weigh more than 2000 kg, and the smallest bells weigh 10 kg. In total, the carillon weighs almost 12 tons, and every hour it rings above Kristianskhavn, singing different hymns. The Church established the first regular carillon position in Denmark in 1983, and the carilloner Ulla Laage held this position until 2006.

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