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Ten important churchesTen important churches

1. The largest1. The largest

Vestervig Church in Thy is not only Denmark's largest village church but also Scandinavia's largest. The sight of the big church far out in the countryside near the mouth of the Limfjord is surprising. However, when the church was built in the middle of the 11th century its location was central. The church was part of the important Vestervig Abbey and was neighbour to a royal manor. Buried in the cemetery are the sister of Valdemar the Great, Little Kirsten, and her beloved Prince Buris.

Vestervig ChurchVestervig Church

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

2. The smallest2. The smallest

Venø Church, built on the island that is called the heart of the Limfjord, is only 74 square metres and thus the country's smallest church. The church has 55 seats and in addition to being the smallest church it was for a long time one of the poorest in the country. As there was no money to fabricate the ends of the benches in wood, they were instead painted on the wall at the end of each bench. Today there are often not enough seats and the parish council has installed loudspeakers on the outside wall of the church for those who cannot get a seat inside. From 1750 through 2004 the pastor of Venø Church was in charge of teaching the children of the island. This arrangement only came to an end when Struer municipality chose to close down the small school.

Venø ChurchVenø Church

Photo: Tommy Hansen

3. The oldest3. The oldest

The crypt church of Vor Frue in Aarhus is said to be the oldest church still in use. For a long time the citizens of Aarhus had no idea that the old Vor Frue Church concealed this jewel from a vanished past. The original church appeared from under the floor during a renovation in 1955. The church is dedicated to Saint Nikolai and served as the first cathedral in the parish of Aarhus. It was built in the middle of the 10th century and enlarged in 1080. The crypt church was restored in the 1950s and today it is used during services that have a small number of participants. It is possible to access the crypt church from the nave of Vor Frue Church.

The Crypt, Vor FrueThe Crypt, Vor Frue

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

4. The youngest4. The youngest

Dybkær Church was inaugurated on Whit Sunday 2010 and is (as of June 2011) the youngest of the Evangelical Lutheran churches in Denmark. Gødvad parish not far from Silkeborg has a church from the Middle Ages but it is too small and is located too far from life in the growing suburb. So they have built a large red brick church which – through its size and location – allows church life to unfold and grow. Seen from the outside the church resembles old Danish churches and abbeys. Inside, the church is modern in style – simple and bright. The Tree of Life is a recurring motif in the silver and the baptismal font, which is shaped as a leaf.

Dybkær ChurchDybkær Church

5. The longest5. The longest

Aarhus Cathedral measures 93 metres and is the longest church in Denmark. The church also has the country's tallest church tower and Denmark's largest fresco measuring 220 square metres. The fresco shows, among other things, Saint Clemens, who is the saint of the seamen and since 926 the patron saint of the city of Aarhus.

Aarhus CathedralAarhus Cathedral

6. The round church6. The round church

Østerlars Church on the island of Bornholm is the largest and oldest of Denmark's seven round churches. It is presumed that the round churches of the Middle Ages were built in the image of the rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is said to contain the place where Jesus was buried, inspired crusaders and pilgrims from all over Europe to build round churches and round sepulchral monuments. Østerlars Church is thought to have been built in the middle of the 11th century. The round nave has a diameter of 17 metres and has been built around a central column with frescos of Jesus' birth and life.

Østerlars ChurchØsterlars Church

Photo: Hans Andersen

7. The tall church7. The tall church

The corkscrew tower with the golden spire on the Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen is not the tallest church tower in the country but is probably the most beautiful. The architect of the tower, Thurah, wrote in his journal: "No other tower in Denmark reaches the beauty of the tower of Our Saviour when the evening sun makes the gilded globe radiate like a tongue of fire". The tower is still a symbol of Copenhagen. If you climb the tower to "pat the globe", the golden spire that is shaped like the Earth on which Christ is standing, holding the Banner of victory (or Resurrection banner), you should allow yourself a visit in the church too. It is considered the most beautiful baroque church in Denmark.

Church of Our SaviorChurch of Our Savior

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

8. The classical Danish church8. The classical Danish church

Hover Church near Ringkøbing (Western Jutland) has been described as : "A sublime representative of the classical Danish village church", "an integral part of the Danish cultural landscape. And an irreplaceable part of Danish architectural culture. A landmark of the Denmark we know." (The Cultural Canon)

Hover ChurchHover Church

Photo: Inge-Dorthe Kaasgaard

9. The royal church9. The royal church

Roskilde Cathedral figures on UNESCO’s World Heritage List with the following recommendation: "The Cathedral's royal monuments commemorate an outstanding series as royal burials that have occurred from the 10th century until the present time". Twenty kings and seventeen queens have found their final resting-place in the cathedral’s chapels. The cathedral has been restored, reconstructed and enlarged several times. Therefore, with its many styles and works of art it testifies to centuries of Danish history and art.

Roskilde CathedralRoskilde Cathedral

Photo: Istockphoto

10. The mobile church10. The mobile church

The Cathedral of Silence is a tent church that is set up during festivals. One week every summer the Cathedral of Silence is one of the most visited churches in the country. It is an established tradition that it can be found at Denmark's largest festival in Roskilde, which has approximately 100,000 participants. Music-loving people can visit the tent church during other summer festivals, too. Pastors and volunteers make sure that services are held and that there is always someone to talk to when the cathedral is present at a festival.

Cathedral of SilenceCathedral of Silence

Photo: Rune Hansen