Happy Monday! Today, I’m going to take tour on a tour of one of Copenhagen’s palaces. After our delicious lunch at The Dubliner, we stopped to watch a Finnish street performer entertain us. The juggler did an excellent job.
We walked back through the main square to the Christiansborg Palace, located on the island of Slotsholmen. This is a postcard picture of the palace. Our Copenhagen Card granted us free access to any and all tours we chose to take.
While the Queen doesn’t live here, many of the rooms are used for a number of different functions by the Royal Family. The Royal Reception Rooms include The Tower Room and The Oval Throne Room where Her Majesty receives foreign ambassadors to Denmark. It is from this palace’s balcony off the Throne Room that the new Danish monarchs are named following the death of the old one. Among the palaces other uses, the palace is home to the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Danish Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State.
The Christiansborg Palace is HUGE. A visit may involve a number of different tours. One of these takes you under the palace to view the ruins of previous palaces built in this place that succumbed to fire. While it’s interesting, it isn’t the place to be if you are claustrophobic. Here is a description taken from the official Visit Copenhagen Website.
“The biggest and oldest ruins under Christiansborg Palace is the remainings of the wall from Bishop Absalon’s Castle from the 11th century. The wall protected the Castle from pirates.
Blue Tower – Leonora Christine’s prison
Another big ruin under the castle is the foundation of the infamous Blue Tower; the biggest tower in Copenhagen’s castle. Here, political prisoners and other criminals were held captive. The most famous prisoner was Christian IV’s favourite daughter, Leonora Christine. She was held captive for almost 22 years.
Rebuilt several times
After 1369, Copenhagen Castle was rebuilt on top of the remains of Absalon’s Castle. The space was tight in the new castle and the kings broke down the building and built new ones.
Christian IV wished to lay his mark on Copenhagen’s Castle. He added another floor to the Blue Tower with a flaunting copper spire.
At the end, the foundation could not bear the enormous and heavy castle and it was clear that it was in danger of collapsing at any time. Christian VI tore down the castle and built a whole new one – the first Christiansborg Castle, completed in 1745.
Revealed by accident
When casting the foundations for the new castle, workers struck upon the ruins of older buildings and the remnants of the initial wall. Experts were called in from the National Museum, and a close inspection revealed that the ruins dated back as far as 1167.
What they had come upon was Bishop Absalon’s Castle, once situated on a tiny island off the Merchants’ Harbour. Walking around this underground site, you will get an idea of how the castle was continually renewed and developed.”
After each terrible fire, the palace was rebuilt. According to the tour information, the common people ran into the burning building to save items from destruction, including tapestries and the royal throne.How’s that for dedication?
Another area you can choose to visit is the Royal Stable. Horses have been a part of the palace ever since it’s inauguration in 1740. Surprisingly, the show grounds and stable wings escaped damage in the fires. At one point, there were 250 horses in the stable. Today there are 20of the beautiful white horses. These are used primarily to pull the magnificent Gold Carriage the Queen uses to go from her home in the Amalienborg palace to the official functions at the Christiansborg Castle. If you go into the Harness Museum, you’ll see the Gold carriage “from 1840 with 24karats gold leaf.” The are other carriages there –some dating back to 1778. There’s even a real horse–stuffed!
We concentrated our visit on the main palace. You begin your tour by putting OR style booties over your shoes so as not to mark or dirty the incredible wooden floors. Below is John, Mike, and Penny entering the main reception room that starts the self-guided tour.
Denmark’s current Royal Family consists of in the center, Queen Margrethe II, Royal Consort Prince Henrik, on the Queen’s right, Crown Prince Frederick and his wife Crown Princess Mary, and on the Queen’s left, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, his wife.
From the reception room we moved through various rooms open to the public. Most were stripped of furniture, but the wall-sized portraits and murals, not to mention the chandeliers and fancy construction work was incredible.
The formal dining room was one of the most imposing and impressive I’ve ever seen. The table gleamed. I’m not kidding–not a spec of dust to be seen. The Alexandra Hall is used for official dinners.
Another impressive room was the Great Hall with it’s incredible Queen’s tapestries depicting 1000 years of Danish history. These were presented to the Queen to mark her 50th birthday in 1990. There are 11 of them in all. Bjørn Nørgaard painted the full-size sketches from which the tapestries were woven. The tapestry series depicts 1000 years of Danish history.
The Prime Minister of Denmark also uses The Royal Reception Rooms in connection with state visits by foreign state leaders. Occasionally, tables are brought in for special functions.
With that we ended our tour of the palace, exiting through the gift shop, of course. By now it was late afternoon and we headed to Tivoli Gardens to meet with others from our group.
Next time, I’ll take you there. See you in a couple of weeks. I’m going camping!