Friday, July 12, 2019

Christiansborg Palace: A Castle and Her Ruins in Copenhagen

Christiansborg Palace: A Castle and Her Ruins in Copenhagen

Christiansborg Slot: Touring Danish Royal Reception Rooms and Castle Ruins

Christiansborg Palace presented us with a unique experience unexplored at Rosenborg and Amalienborg. Having burned down several times, Christiansborg rests upon several layers of ruins providing an intriguing crypt exploration! However, Christiansborg is also home to lavish reception rooms used by the Danish Royal Family today. So before we get to the crypt, we have to explore the palace:


Christiansborg Palace is home to the Danish Parliament and Royal Reception Rooms.
Christiansborg Palace is home to the Danish Parliament and Royal Reception Rooms.
The Queen, Parliament and Danish Prime Minister all operate out of Christiansborg Palace today. Today's castle was constructed in 1928 and is named for Christian VI. This is the third Christiansborg to sit on the site. The previous two burned down due to fires in the kitchen. The first castle to sit on the site was Bishop Absalon's constructed in 1167. Incredible history in one spot which we will discuss a little later!

Royal Reception Rooms:

As we walked into the Dining Hall, we were immediately captivated by elegance. The table is incredibly long and was constructed out of the wood from the steps and handrails of the previous Christiansborg. The room looks both intricate and simple at the same time.

Incredible mahogany dining table made from wood salvaged from the fire at Christiansborg Palace
Incredible mahogany dining table made from wood salvaged from the fire.
The Green Reception room equally entranced. For the most part, the rooms had little furniture which really allowed you to appreciate and revel in royal splendor.

The Green Reception Room where art folds into the design at Christiansborg Palace
The Green Reception Room where art folds into the design.
Love, love, love the reds here:



The Velvet Reception Room Leading to The Throne Room:

Christiansborg stuns from entrance to exit. As I look through photos, I can't choose a favorite. Each of the receptions rooms has its own elegance and awe. Below is the Velvet Room and if you squint you can see the thrones emerging through the doorways. An incredible 300 meters of velvet wall coverings encase the room.

The Velvet Reception Room heralds the royal thrones to come at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen
The Velvet Reception Room heralds the royal thrones to come.
The new monarch of Denmark is proclaimed from the balcony in the Throne Room. The Queen no longer sits upon on the throne but they are preserved as a reminder of Denmark's past absolute monarchy. The gorgeous thrones were saved from the 1884 fire. They are truly splendid, so we are lucky that we can still see them!

The Throne Room stuns immediately upon entry at Christiansborg
The Throne Room stuns immediately upon entry.
In Awe in the Queen's Library:

I don't know what I imagined a Queen's Library would look like but the one at Christiansborg left me awestruck.  The library is home to the Royal Family's private collection of Danish and foreign works including some originals signed by Hans Christian Andersen.

The Queen's Library invites curiosity at Christiansborg Palace
The Queen's Library invites curiosity.
The Tapestries:

The Great Hall displays 17 tapestries depicting Danish history over the past 1,100 years. The incredible artwork was a gift to Queen Margrethe on her 50th birthday. The tapestries were woven from the illustrations of Bjorn Norgaard.




Christiansborg Palace Underground:

After exploring the Royal Reception Rooms, we ventured to the depths below Christiansborg to view the ruins of previous castles. There is a separate entrance for the ruins, so we left the area of the reception rooms to reenter at that point.

Well from Absalon's Castle.
During our exploration, we viewed ruins from Bishop Absalon's Castle constructed in 1167 and Copenhagen Castle. Placards throughout detailed different portions as we viewed. Tours are available as well.


We were intrigued about how the castles layered upon each other. Above is a tower from Absalon's Castle's wall which was also incorporated into Copenhagen Castle. The wall of Absalon's Castle protected the fortress from pirates.



Some decorative elements from the castles remained including this tile that has been pieced together. I am always amazed about how archaeologists can put together the past from seemingly small or nondescript pieces. These tiles were part of the floor in Copenhagen Castle. An interesting tidbit about Copenhagen Castle -- King Christian IV's favorite daughter Lenora Christina was locked up in a castle tower for 21 years due to the deeds of her husband.

Overall Experience:

Our visit to Christiansborg Palace was one of the most memorable of our visit to Copenhagen. Christiansborg mixes the magic of royalty with an incredible wealth of history and even some mystery in the crypt below. The palace has a wonderful range of experiences even beyond what we were able to explore. Truly an amazing Copenhagen experience!


Travel Tips for Christiansborg Palace:

  • Christiansborg has several sections in addition the palace including the ruins, tower, kitchen and stables. If you would like to see each section, plan adequately for time.
  • Danish artists are highlighted throughout. So, take some time to become familiar with the works.
  • Christiansborg Palace itself opened and hour earlier than other sections during our visit, so pay attention to timing.
  • Inside, you will need to wear little booties that slip over your shoes.
Christiansborg Palace: A Castle and Her Ruins in Copenhagen -- a place to explore the Danish Royal Reception Rooms and reminder of castles past

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