Vor Frelsers Kirke

The magnificent spire of Our Saviour’s Church, which was built in 1752 and can be reached through a spiral staircase around the building’s outside, is well known. Be forewarned: climbing all 400 stairs requires significant stamina in addition to an excellent sense of balance. With a height of 90 meters, the spire is one of the city’s highest panoramic vantage spots (295 ft). Keep in mind that when it is raining or windy, the spire is closed.

The spiral staircase design for the spire came to the architect Lauritz de Thurah while he was in Rome seeing the Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza church. According to legend, Thurah was so preoccupied with his work that when it was said that his spiral staircase went in the incorrect direction, he allegedly committed suicide by jumping over the top of the tower. The reality, however, is more sobering: seven years after finishing the tower, the architect passed away in his own bed, homeless and impoverished. Nevertheless, Danish director Nils Vest turned the story into a film in 1997.

Even without the spire, the church itself is worthwhile a visit. According to a design by the Norwegian-Danish architect and artist Lambert von Haven, Vor Frelsers Kirke was constructed in 1696. Cherubs are used to decorate the interior Baroque altar created by the Swede Nicodemus Tessin. The massive three-story organ was built in 1698. More than 4,000 pipes make up the beautifully carved organ, which is held aloft by two enormous elephants.

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