The Marble Church - Copenhagen

*A Part of the Danish Cultural Heritage*
 
 

 

 

 

 

The Marble Church
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The Marble Church - Frederiks Church
 
 
 
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The Marble Church with its impressive dome and balustrade with 18 historical Statues from the Bible.
 
Frederiks Kirke -”The Marble Church”    

In 1749 the royal house of Oldenborg celebrated the tercentenary of ruling the Country and to mark this occasion King Frederik V (1723-1766 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1746-1766) decided to build a church in the new town in honour of God and the absolute monarchy. Both the church and town were named after him - Frederiks Kirke and Frederiksstad. The master planner and builder of Frederiksstad was the King’s leading court architect Nicolai Eigtved - who also was the architect of the Marble Church.

 
The Foundation Stone Laid in 1749
The foundation stone for the mighty domed church of circular plan was laid on 30. October 1749 - and in the late spring of 1756 works on the impressive church project recommenced. After the foundations were laid - progress was slow chiefly because financial resources were limited - but the King had no desire to cut back in any way on materials or enrichments for his prestigious plans and insisted to build the walls in solid marble wit blocks from eastern Norway - which also was the cause for a dramatic rise in building cost.
 
Uncompleted for 150 years
A view down Frederiksgade in 1865 towards the ruin of the Marble Church - which was unfinished for 150 years.
Great outing spot and attraction
The monumental ruin of the Marble Church in 1870 was a great outing spot for the Copenhageners at that time.
 
The King and architect dies
The Royal building master Nicolai Eigtved dies in June 1754 in Copenhagen, who stops the building of the Marble Church for some time. Furthermore on 14 January 1766 - King Frederik V dies - and finally in 1770, King Christian VII (1749-1808) - ruled Denmark and Norway 1766-1808) decides to suspend his father’s project “until further notice” due to lack of financial founds and heavy budget cuts of the Frederiksstad project.

The Project Suspended and C. F. Tietgen
For the next 100 years the works stopped. The walls had reached a height of barely twenty metres and the church was then nicknamed “The Marble Church”. The site stood as a picturesque ruin in the middle of Copenhagen and a popular motif for many artists. Nevertheless - the banker and financier C. F. Tietgen took over the ruin and building site in 1874 in order to ensure the completion of the royal project. Tietgen also had in mind that the spirit and thoughts of national priest and hymn writer N. S. F. Grundtvig (1783 1872) should symbolize the religious adoration in the new parish church - as Grundtvig was a very central and influential person in Danish religious life.

The Rebuilding
The rebuilding of the Marble Church started slowly in 1874 and C. F. Tietgen chose Ferdinand Meldahl as the leading architect of the reconstruction - as he could fulfil Tietgen’s idea of building “A Grundtvigian Cathedral”.
 
The Altarpiece from 1893-94
The altarpiece from 1893-94 is made of pine and decorated with stucco work that is shaped as a triumphal arch in Roman Baroque style around the Cross on the altar.
The Inner Dome
The inner dome of the church is resting on 12 columns and has a span of 31m. The cupola is split into 12 equal parts and decorated with angels and the 12 apostles placed in each section.
 
Finally completed
After the church complex was left incomplete and stood as a ruin for nearly 150 years and after nearly 20 years of construction due to new founds and other generous contributions - the Marble Church was finally completed and inaugurated on 19. August 1894.


The present church
Today Frederiks Kirke (Frederik’s Church) with its great dome rising high above the rooftops of Copenhagen is one of the characteristic landmarks of the city’s skyline. Around the church are 14 bronze statues of prominent Danish Church Fathers - among them priest and author N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783 1872), philosopher and theologian Søren A. Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and poet and novelist B.S. Ingemann (1789-1862). On the balustrade around the dome are sculptures in zinc of 18 historical figures from the bible - comprising prophets and apostles as well as the founder of Reformation Martin Luther (1483-1546). The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark is a state church and derives its name from Martin Luther - where 85% of the Danes are members and practice their Christian life in almost 2,100 parishes.
 
14 bronze statues of Danish Church Fathers
Around the Marble Church are 14 bronze statues of many prominent Danish Church Fathers - among them priest and author N.F.S. Grundtvig - who is standing at the entrance of the church.
“The word of the Lord endured for ever”
The impressive fronton (pediment) is supported by 4 Corinthian Columns and on their top is the inscription - “The word of the Lord endured for ever” - from the Danish Bible, 1. Peter 1:25).
 
Frederiks Church and Frederiksstad
The position of the church is particularly linked with Frederiksstaden (Frederik’s Town) - the new quarter founded in the mid 1700s by King Frederik V
. Frederiks Kirke here serves as the termination of an east-west axis from the harbour and across Amalienborg Square. Frederik's Church is best known as “The Marble Church” - and has the largest church dome in northern Europe with a span of 31m and resting on 12 columns. The basic inspiration for the great copper-clad dome of the Marble Church is the 42.5m dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.
 
The Royal Guard and the Marble Church
The Royal Guard exercising near the Marble Church – where the church building is standing as a grandiose monument at the end of Frederiksgade. The changing of the Guards at Amalienborg Palace takes place every day at noon.
A fantastic view from the top
From the top of the Marble Church is a fantastic view over Amalienborg Palace - Amalie Gardens - The new Opera House - The Sound between Denmark and Sweden and from the west side the rest of Copenhagen.
 
Entrance and location
Free Entrance to the church and admittance to the dome of the church. Enjoy the breath-taking view of Copenhagen - The Oresound between Denmark and Sweden - Amalienborg Palace - Amalie Gardens and the new Opera House.
 
Location
The Marble Church is located near Amalienborg Palace - The Amalie Gardens and the Yellow Palace.
 

The Marble Church

Address
Frederik Kirke - Marmorkirken
(Marble Church)
Frederiksgade 4
1265 Copenhagen K

Busses: 1A - 15 - 20E

Distance from Town Hall Square 5 km. and expect 20-30 min. by walk.


The Marble Church - Frederiks Church
 
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