Thursday's Child: Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Aarhus Cathedral, in Aarhus, Denmark, is notable for a few reasons.  It is the largest church in Denmark and has both a stunning altar and a set of golden gates that separate the choir from the nave.  But its most striking features are the frescoes on its walls.  Only a few remain, but they indicate what this cathedral must have looked like in its prime.

We knew nothing about Aarhus before we disembarked at this port on our Baltic cruise last summer. The girls had begged to go to a beach somewhere on the cruise.  Most of the destinations gave us no time for a beach - even two days in St. Petersburg were barely adequate - but Aarhus was the one destination that had no must-sees, and thus it became our beach day.

But after a beautiful morning at the beach we still had a few hours left, and I remembered reading about the glorious cathedral that towered over the rest of the town.

Construction on the cathedral began in the late twelfth century, and was completed around 1350.  Later, it was redesigned in the Gothic style, and between the years of 1470 and 1520, the walls were covered in frescoes.  Many of these lovely frescoes were lost during the Reformation movement but a few remain.  Those that survived cover over 2000 square feet on the interior walls of the cathedral. The largest, shown at the top of this paragraph, depicts St. Christopher and St. Clement, the latter of whom was a pope in the early church and patron saint of sailors, and to whom the cathedral is dedicated. 

One of the beauties of travel is discovering the unexpected.  We've been fortunate enough to see some of the world's great cathedrals, and they truly are spectacular.  But once in a while, it's a joy to stumble upon a place that you never knew existed.  Built to glorify God, Aarhus Cathedral, with its vaulted ceilings and colourful frescoes, was a true pleasure to visit.

22 comments:

Lizzy Do said...

Oh, how fortunate that some of these frescoes remain! Such treasures. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas, Beth!!! xo

Valerie said...

What a majestic cathedral! I think I could spend hours gazing at the intricate frescoes.

Velva said...

European churches always amaze me. The history and the construction never fall short of stunning.

Cheers.
Velva

Belinda said...

What a neat and unexpected stop-not the usual tourist stomp!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm amazed at all the places you've traveled to. So true that finding the unexpected on a trip can be so enjoyable. Hope I do too on my trip to China.

Rita Huneault said...

When we travel, I always search out the churches; you learn so much about the evolution on these towns/cities. This is one grand cathedral; I can just imagine.
Rita

Barbara said...

I'm always charmed when I come upon a lovely old church in my travels. I loved reading about the history of this one, Beth.

yummychunklet said...

What a lovely old church.

Medeia Sharif said...

What a lovely cathedral. I haven't seen anything quite like it. I hope to see it in person one day.

bakewithjill.com said...

The frescoes are gorgeous. What a neat find!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Beautiful photos!

Food Gal said...

Amazing how that's stood the test of time, isn't it? Simply gorgeous!

Elaine said...

How lovely! I really enjoy your Thursday travel posts, Beth.

Julie said...

Your travel posts always take me there!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've always wanted to go to Denmark, but for some reason I forgot about the historical sites. I was thinking of Legoland. lol

Angie's Recipes said...

Wonderful photos, Beth. Thanks for sharing and I wish you and yours a happy and blessed holiday season!

Claudia said...

I am imagining what those frescoes must have looked like "back in the day." The world is just filled with unexpected treasures and such a delight to stumble on one. Happy Holidays, Beth to you and yours. May your days be merry and bright.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I've not been there, and it definitely looks as if I need to! There are so many things to see! But I'll put this on my list for the next time I'm in that part of the world. Merry Christmas!

Joanne said...

You guys definitely stumbled upon a gem!

artofnaturalliving.com said...

I had family from Aarhus--must visit someday... Thanks for sharing!

Kathy said...

Such a gorgeous cathedral…and a lovely post!

Needful Things said...

I made a fleeting visit to Aarhus almost a decade ago. Since it was for work, I never got to see much and left far too quickly. Enjoyed this post because it brought back memories of beautiful Denmark. Still hope to make it back there one day!
Happy 2013!

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