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16.11.2020

Christian's Church, Copenhagen

Christian Church is a magnificent rococo church in Christianshavn district of Copenhagen, Denmark. Designed by Nicholas Eigtved, it was built in 1754-59.

The church was originally built by the German community as a church for a large community in Christianshavn and served this purpose until the late 19th century. Today it is an ordinary parish church for the Christian parish of the Danish National Church. Its name is a reference to King Christian IV, who founded the area of Kristianskhavn in 1611.

After Christian IV founded Cristianskhavn in 1617 as a city specifically designed for merchants, a large community of German traders and craftsmen settled here. Although Cristiansavn was incorporated into Copenhagen until 1674, they did not attend St. Peter's Church as the rest of the German community of the city, but preferred to worship in the local church of the Savior. This continued until they finally asked King Christian VI for permission to build their own church. The king approved the plans and made a great contribution - the former saltworks, located at the end of Strandgade in the southern part of the quarter. He also gave permission for the lottery. The finished church used to be called the Lottery Church.

In exchange for his approval and donation of the plot, the king made very specific recommendations for the location and design of the church building.

Nicholas Eigtved, the preferred architect of the King at the time, was accused of designing a new church, but died in 1754, before construction began. His son-in-law, the royal master builder George David Anton, was commissioned to lead the construction of the church, which was completed in 1759. Anton also designed the spire, an annex in 1769.

Originally the church was called the German Church of Frederiks (Danish: Frederiks Tyske Kirke) and served its original purpose as a church for the German community until it was dissolved in 1886.

In 1901, the name of the church was changed to the current Christian church to complement and avoid confusion with the church of Frederiksstaden on the other side of the harbor, as well as in honor of Christian IV, the founder of the Christianhavn district.

Since 1991, it is an ordinary parish church for the Christian parish, which includes parts of Kristianskhavn and Slotsholmen.

The church has a rectangular layout, with a nave occupying the space between the shorter rather than the longer sides of the rectangle, which gives it an exceptional width.

Standing on a granite pedestal, the church is a yellow brick building (Flensborg sten) with sandstone decoration for the portal and tower. Ionic pilasters decorate the portal, and the windows with round arches are high and thin. The height of the tower is 70 meters. Designed by Eigtved's son-in-law DG Anton, the spire was added in 1769.

The tower is located in the center of the northern side, which serves as the main facade. Its height is 70 meters.

Unusual interior of the Christian church resembles a theater. In addition to the pews on either side of the nave, three tiers of galleries with boxes rise to the full height of the building on the north, west and south sides. All of them are arranged so that the parishioners have a beautiful view of the podium on the east side, which resembles a stage. It is dominated by a high thin altar, which consists not only of an altar table, but also a pulpit above it and an organ at the top. The richly decorated entrance, topped with a royal lodge, is located opposite the altar and under the tower on the west side.

The organ stands in an integrated tabernacle image above the dial in a medieval tradition. The original instrument was built in 1759 by the leading authority of the time, Hartwig Johum Mueller. In 1917, I. Starup built a new pneumatic tool on the facade of Mueller, and in 1976 the church acquired a modern organ design PG Andersen.

For the design of the church was often called the Theatre Church. However, it justified its name because it can accommodate up to a thousand people not only for church services, but also for many concerts and other artistic events that have been held here in recent years. One of the advantages of its design is that it does not look empty, even if only a few people come to such events.

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