Monday, October 24, 2011

Roskilde Domkirke

I have to admit, the Danish language is a struggle for me.  By struggle, I mean absolutely impossible, no chance of learning more than "I would like to have a big latte" (Jeg vil gerne have en stor latte), "Excuse me/I'm sorry/move" (Unskilde), and "In America, I come from Texas" (I USA, kommer jeg fra Texas).  Maybe pathetic, but when "dd" makes a -th sound, letters like æ, ø, å exist and it's totally normal to spell the words with strings of consonants, I'm putting forth a strong effort.  

W&L requires me to take a Danish language and culture class while I am here.  While Danish is the source of many lingual frustrations, I am really liking the cultural part of the class.  We read stories by Hans Christian (H.C., or otch-seh) Anderson, listen to popular Danish bands, and occasionally go on field trips.  One of our most recent trips was to Roskilde Domkirke, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Roskilde, Denmark.  

Constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Cathedral is the first Gothic style building made of brick.  It has served many purposes throughout the years, and is still a working church.  More importantly, though, Roskilde has been the burial place for Denmark's kings and queens (konger og dronninger) since the 1460s, when Christian I was buried there.
There are several different royal chapels that have been built within the church, each beautiful and unique.  I'll let pictures speak for themselves:

Cold but clear: The outside of the church, from a square nearby
The nave
The iconostasis, or altar screen, used in Medieval times so peasants who could not understand Latin could still see biblical, holy pictures.  This iconostasis is carved wood that has been painted.
Chapel of the Magi: Christian I's Chapel
Christian IX's Chapel; Frederik VIII and Queen Louise of Sweden-Norway are also buried there
Frederik V's Chapel
Detail on Margrethe I's sarcophagus
Wrought iron lattice separating the chapel from the nave, made by Caspar Fincke
Pictures hardly do Roskilde Domkirke justice.  It is a beautiful church, and I completely understand why more than 125,000 people make the trek to Roskilde each year to see it.  

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