Denmark has a really interesting religious history, beginning with Norse Gods and Goddesses and ending with the introduction of Christianity by King Harald Bluetooth Gormson at the end of the first century. Like many European nations during the Middle Ages, Denmark began their Christian tradition as dedicated followers of the Catholic Church.
After Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation in Europe by nailing the 95 Thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral in Germany, Denmark threw off the Catholic Church. Lutheranism became the official religion of Denmark in 1534. Today, over 90% of Danes are members of a Protestant Church---but many only attend church on important religious holidays.
As a result of their long Christian tradition, there are many beautiful cathedrals in Denmark. Perhaps the most impressive is Marmorkirken----which means "The Marble Church." Marmorkirken was the idea of King Frederik V, who decided to celebrate the 300 years that his family had ruled Denmark by building a new district in the city of Copenhagen in 1749. This cathedral was placed at the center of the new district----which was convienently named Frederiksstaden in honor of the king!
Plans for the church included an effort to use Norweigan marble for construction. After 20 years, however the costs for the cathedral had risen to unacceptable levels and building was stopped. Over a century later, the church was finally completed using Danish marble. Marmorkirken remains one of the most beautiful churches in Denmark---with an impressive dome that was once the largest in all of Europe.
Don't believe me? Check this out:
So what do you think? Incredible church, huh?
One of the things that I've noticed in my travels is that churches and temples---regardless of religion---are almost always beautiful. Why do you think people invest so much money in churches? Are the churches and temples in your town beautiful too? What other buildings do people tend to invest a lot of money in? Arenas? Sports fields? Parks? Government offices? Libraries? Schools?
Do you think you can learn something about what a society values just by studying their buildings?
Leave a comment to explain your thinking!
Bam Bam Bigelow
Image retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Marble_Church_front.jpg on July 7, 2007