After visiting the Viking Ship Museum, we headed to Roskilde’s city center, primarily to see the Roskilde Domkirke, the cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I previously mentioned that King Harald Bluetooth had constructed the first Christian church in Zeeland here in Roskilde in 980 A.D. That church had been built of wood and was to be Harald’s mausoleum. It is believed that a second and, perhaps, third church were constructed on the site of the original wooden church in the 1000s.
Construction of the church that now stands on the site was begun in 1170. This church was built of brick. Brick-making was a new thing in Denmark at the time and it took 100 years to finish the cathedral, during which time the design changed from Romanesque style to Gothic.
After we parked, we walked toward the side entrance to the cathedral, went in and walked around the Nave, Choir, Sanctuary and surrounding chapels (the subject of my next post).
After spending an hour inside (and being the last to exit for the day), we continued around to the square in front of the cathedral. The square was totally abandoned. Not a soul in sight.
We walked around to the opposite side where I took this photo, looking up at one of the spires and an attached chapel. Still, no one around.
We continued around the back, walking underneath the arch that connects the cathedral to the adjacent Bishop’s Palace, then continued to the Hestetorvet, the old market square over by the railroad station. The centerpiece of the Hestetorvet is three 16 foot tall jars that were put in place in 1998 as part of the town’s millennial celebration – that’s the town’s 1,000 year anniversary!
We were starting to find the people now as we continued up the walking street to the Stændertorvet, the square known as the “heart of Roskilde,” where town fairs were held in the Middle Ages.
Lo and behold, a town fair underway. That’s where everybody was on this Friday afternoon. It appears that the Stændertorvet is still the heart of Roskilde.