Perched on the Slotsholmen Castle Island, Christiansborg Palace enlivens royal splendour the instant you glance at it. And why not? I remember my first walk towards the monumental entrance of the palace. It was, as if, an inviting pathway was luring me into its baroqueness! The ‘very’ entrance boasts an aesthetic-veil of identical façades, bolstered on either side. Each flaunting arched anatomies surmounted by sculpted figures and a crown on the top. Only Christiansborg tower is visible from a far distance. Evidently so, as it’s the highest in Copenhagen! The crowns epitomize a dialogue with the Palace’s regal context. They are a tribute to the royal families who lived here in the 17th-century before the palace went down in flames. This place was a small island when the 1st-castle was built here in the eleventh century. Even today, the surrounding seawater canals revive the island vibe at its best.
Add to that, the Danish political atmosphere! The Christiansborg Palace became the official seat of parliament after Denmark’s capital moved to Copenhagen from Roskilde. That was in the fourteenth century. Therefore, the overweening architecture presents the best of both royal and political history. Cross the vintage passageway and an idealized architecture will begin to show itself. Making clear, the domed edifice preceded by a horsed statue in the forepart!
Upon some carefree sauntering, I stumbled upon the history of the statue of Absalon on horseback. Absalon, a bishop, built the 1st-castle here in 1167 to protect the sea from pirates. Since then, many castles were built and burned down in the fire. Christiansborg Palace, being the 5th palace in line to be built on these antiquated grounds. The horseback statue commemorates the foundation of this location.
The two outstretching grey courtyard wings were built in 1740. These include including royal Stables, canals and the court theatre. The Palace Church, on the other hand, was built in 1826. Amalienborg Palace is where the royal family lives! The Royals moved here after Christiansborg was razed to the ground during the 17th-century fire. Later, Christiansborg Palace was renovated into the administrative seat of Denmark. Regardless of the divided space, you will find both the palaces draped in a similar neoclassical design. Baroque magnificence, I’d say! Despite being the centre of political heritage, Christiansborg Palace continues to host royal receptions on special occasions.
To enter Christiansborg Palace, you need to first purchase an entry ticket. Priced at €20, this ticket will give you access to four separate areas of the palace. The palace tour kicked off as I crossed over the colossal metallic gate, superseded by a short cobblestoned path. A few minutes later, I was exploring the ground level life of Riley. The entire palace is laden with pristine blue carpets. So, the tourists have to cover their shoes with plastic bags, before they are allowed inside the staterooms, steeped in ornateness.
What To See in Christiansborg Palace
There’s a lot to see inside Christiansborg Palace. Not only, is this, the ‘largest’ Scandinavian Palace, but also, the world’s only building seating all government branches. It houses the Queen, the Prime Ministers office, as well as, the national parliament. The walkthrough began with the Royal Reception, where the Queen receives the foreign delegates.
1. The Queen’s Reception Rooms
The walkthrough began with the Queen’s reception rooms, which I think is the most eye-catching part of the palace. Even though the royal family lives in the Amalienborg Palace, the Danish Queen receives foreign delegates in Christiansborg Palace, from time to time. These large and striking reception rooms see the presence of important people during royal parties. When the Queen is not around, tourists like me get to devour the grandeur. Each reception room is ornated with awe-inspiring paintings, furnishings and art pieces. Most of these are reclaimed from the former palaces. Hence bearing historical significance that goes back to as early as the eleventh century.
The Great Ballroom contains Queen’s tapestries. These 17 colourful Tapestries on display, were gifted to the Queen on her 50th-birthday by Denmark’s business community. Each one of these 17 tapestries was painted by Bjørn Nørgaard. Woven to perfection, the tapestries depict 1000 years of Danish world history. The Alexandra Hall hosts dinners.
2. Oval Throne and the Tower Room
Amongst other important rooms, are Oval Throne and the Tower Room. It’s from here that her majesty and the Prime Minister sees upon the kingdom’s legislative duties. Along the way, I wandered from one stateroom to another, admiring nattering wall paintings, couturier ceilings, and elaborate cast-offs of Danish history. By all means, Christiansborg is where the Danish Monarch is ‘rightly’ proclaimed.
3. The Ruins Further Down the Christiansborg Palace
During the Palace tour, I learned about the ruins further down the Christiansborg Palace. They say, that while artisans were working on the site’s foundation, they accidentally uncovered a curtain wall. This wall had been concealing the ruins of an ancient palace. To verify this discovery, the experts from the National Museum of Denmark were invited to study the palace yard. Thereafter, the royal family decided to preserve the ruins, as it is, and in 1924, opened the area for public viewing. It’s only after that, did the palace induce extreme public interest. Which is what makes these ruins extremely special! To see the ruins of the first castle, take the separate entrance from the inner courtyard.
4. The Royal Kitchens
The Royal Kitchens of the Christiansborg Palace flaunt one of Europe’s largest collections of copperware. Hundreds, of large banquets, have been hosted by these kitchens, making this part of the palace, a paradise for food connoisseurs.
5. The Palace Church
Open, only on Sundays, the Palace Church is one of Copenhagen’s most beautiful building. This 18th-century church was renovated in the 1990s and is often, used by the parliament and the royal family.
6. The Court Theatre
The 17th-century ‘Court Theatre,’ of Christiansborg Palace is a compact hippodrome. It has been preserved, the way, it was originally built! Besides, exhibiting remarkable ambience, the theatre houses a museum with an exemplary collection. This collection recounts Danish theatre history from the seventeenth century until the present day. It is situated right next to the riding facilities or the Royal Stable. In the museum, you will get to admire paintings, costumes, set models and designs, drawings and photo illustrations of the Danish Theatre history. Of all the prestigious alumni, famous writer Hans Christian Andersen is said to have attended ballet school here for a year. The theatre is open Tuesday through Sunday between 12 to 4 PM.
7. The Royal Stables
The Royal Stables date back to the seventeenth century. Here you will see divine white horses, along with, a regal carriage collection. The Royal Stable can be visited between 1:30 PM to 4 PM from April through June, and August through March. All days except Monday. In July, the stable is open from 10 AM to 5 PM every day.
8. The Palace Tower
This Palace Tower is Copenhagen’s highest point offering spectacular views of the city. There is no entry fee to get to the top of the tower, however, be prepared for the long queues. Also, do dine at the Tower restaurant if you have time in hand. It is accessible between 11 AM to 9 PM from Tuesday until Saturday, wherein on Sundays, it’s open between 11 AM to 5.30 PM.
Keep it quiet in the palace to enjoy a distraction-free visitation. Most sections of the Palace can be visited, between 10 AM to 5 PM, except for Mondays, when it’s closed. Although from May till September, the palace is open, between 9 AM to 5 PM every day. It remains closed on special occasions when used by the Queen or the parliament. Last but not least, take a trip to the parliament, which, by the way, can only be visited on guided tours.