{Denmark} Copenhagen’s Historic Round Tower

January 27, 2014


Copenhagen’s Rundetaarn – which simply translates as ‘round tower’ – has been a feature of the city’s skyline since 1642, and is part of a complex that includes the adjacent Trinitatis Church. Once home to the University’s astronomers, it’s still Europe’s oldest functioning observatory and visitors can explore the skies during the winter months (see website for observatory viewing times).

Roundtower Copenhagen

Roundtower Entrance

There’s no lift inside the historic tower, so the only way up is by climbing up the spiral ramp that winds its way to the top. It’s over 200 metres long and winds itself 7.5 times around the inner axis of the tower. A series of niches along the spiral offer ample opportunity for kids to hide away and jump out at their parents or other unsuspecting passers by.

Roundtower Ramp

Roundtower Halfway View

Roundtower Hidey Hole

On your way up the ramp, there are a number of other spots to explore. The Library, which was once home to around 10,000 books from the University and birthplace to a collection of Old Norse artefacts that would one day grow in to the National Museum, is now a venue for gallery exhibitions and concerts. The tower’s two privy next to the Library has been restored, and visitors are welcome to take a seat (though please keep your clothes on!), following in the footsteps of Hans Christian Anderson and other famous Library users. Although the ‘Kissing Bench’ is perhaps a more pleasant seat to take a rest on.

Roundtower Kissing Bench

The Bell Loft is home to the bells of Trinitatis Church, though at 900 square metres big, there’s plenty of space for other things. In the past, it has been used for drying herbs and laundry, and storing theatre sets, amongst other things. It even used to house a ‘Peasant Museum’ in 1880, which, about twenty years later, became the Open Air Museum. Some of the original timbers of the loft, which was rebuilt in the early 18th century after a fire, are still on display alongside other objects that tell the history of Rundetaarn.

Roundtower Wood Beams

And finally, there’s the Planetarium, a three-dimensional model of the Solar System that depicts the starry sky of the Northern hemisphere.

Roundtower Planetarium

The tower’s viewing platform is 34.8 metres above street level, and once you’ve made it to the top you can look down on Copenhagen’s old town and also have an excellent view of the city’s skyline.

Roundtower Viewing Platform

Roundtower Rooftop View

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