After our canal boat tour, we stopped at a hot dog vendor in one of the popular public squares, then went in search of the Rundetårn, the Round Tower, built by – you guessed it – King Christian IV in 1642 as an astronomical observatory.
Inside, access to the top of the Round Tower is by way of a wide, spiral ramp that goes round and round to a top height of about 115 feet. The ramp makes 7.5 rotations around its axis and the walk up is about 1/8 mile. The guidebooks claim that Tsar Peter the Great rode his horse up to the top and that his wife, the Tsarina, took her entire horse-drawn carriage up after him. Supposedly, a car was driven to the top in 1902.
If you’re wondering, like I did, why the tower was built with an internal ramp, rather than a staircase, the answer, as usual, can be found in Wikipedia. The tower, as you’ll recall, was an astronomical observation tower. Consequently, it was necessary to get a lot of equipment up to the observation deck at the top and, at that time, that stuff was big and heavy and had to be moved by horse-drawn cart, ergo: ramp.
Here’s the view from the top of the tower, looking toward the southeast. Way off in the distance you can see the bridge to Malmö, Sweden. Also, take a look at the church tower in the center of the photograph, then look just behind and to the left of that tower and you’ll see another spire in the distance. That’s our next stop, Vor Frelsers Kirke, across the waterway in Christianshavn.
We had to walk briskly to get to Vor Frelsers Kirke before it closed since we really wanted to get the bird’s eye view of Copenhagen from there. At nearly 300 feet up you can see everything.
To get to the church, we had to cross over the waterway that separates the old city of Copenhagen from Christianshavn, a canal-laden quarter of the city built by – no surprise here – King Christian IV. Christianshavn has an Amsterdamesque feel to it, by design. We arrived right behind a group of excited school children, most of the girls in muslim head scarves.
There are 400 steps up to the top of the spire of Vor Frelsers Kirke and the last 150 of them run around the outside of the spire, narrowing as you proceed up, until they become impassable at the top.
Here’s Dale on the way up with Copenhagen Harbor in the background. If you look closely, you can see the Opera House toward the top of the picture, left of center.
The view of Copenhagen on this crystal clear afternoon was magnificent!
It’s single-file at the very top because the stairs narrow to a point, so we were able to take in the vista for a while as we waited our turn to touch the top of the spire after all the school kids had completed the sojourn, then we reversed course and headed back down,…
…stopping at the observation deck to take in the view one last time before heading back toward the train station.