Christiansborg Palace: The Largest in Scandinavia

Copenhagen Christiansborg PalaceRoosted upon the Slotsholmen Castle Island, Christiansborg Palace enlivens royal splendour the instant you glance at it. I remember the first time I had stepped across the majestic entrance of this grand palace. I was full of emotion. Inevitably, I was left fascinated, by the baroqueness, and the extravagance, that you only get to see, on the big screen. The foyer flaunts identical-façades propped on either side. Each parading square windows, arched frames, sculpted figurines and a crown on the top. The crowns paraphrase Christiansborg’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 in the 11th-century when the 1st-castle, was built here. Encompassing seawater channels still revive island vibe at their best. The tallest structure of Christiansborg Palace is its tower. Christiansborg Tower is also the highest in Copenhagen.

Christiansborg Palace Baroque Architecture

By and by, Christiansborg Palace is girdled with a political atmosphere. It became the official seat of parliament after Denmark moved its capital to Copenhagen, from Roskilde the fourteenth century. Consequently, the haughty designs and unmatched architecture exhibits both royal and political elements. Before entering the palace, I sauntered around its vintage cobblestoned front yard. Then an idealized architecture began to show itself. It was 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.

 Absalon Horseback Statue

Christiansborg Palace, is the 5th palace in line, to have been built on these ‘antiquated’ grounds. The horseback statue of Absalon commemorates the foundation of this location. The flowing courtyard units were built in 1740. It entailed the construction of royal stables, canals and court theatre. The palace Church, however, was built in 1826. As for the official residence, 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 restored, into the legislative seat of Denmark. Regardless of the apportioned space, both palaces are cloaked in, identical, neoclassical designs.

Christiansborg Palace Neoclassical Architecture

Despite being the heart of political heritage, Christiansborg Palace continues to host royal receptions on special occasions. I was delighted to be getting a chance to tour these halls. Buying a €20 entry ticket is a good start. This ticket gives you access to four separate areas. My palace tour kicked off, as I forded over the enormous metallic gate. (Superseded, by a short cobblestoned path) A few minutes later, I was in a room laden with pristine blue carpets. However, before I could walk atop those lavish carpetings, I had to cover my shoes in plastic shoe coverings. It’s only fair, we do our bit, to keep dust away from these ornamented staterooms.

Christiansborg Palace from inside

What Should You See in Christiansborg Palace?

Inside Christiansborg Palace Copenhagen

There’s a lot to examine inside Christiansborg Palace. Not only, is this the largest, Scandinavian Palace, but also, the world’s only building seating all administration bureaus. It houses the Queen, the Prime Ministers office and the national parliament. For me, the walkthrough began with the Royal Reception, a graceful area where Queen receives foreign delegates.

The Queen’s Reception Rooms

Christiansborg Palace TapestriesChristiansborg Palace Queen Tapestries The Queen’s reception rooms are 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 reception rooms see the presence of important people during royal parties. When the Queen is not around, tourists like us 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 from 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 of these 17 tapestries was woven and painted to perfection by Bjørn Nørgaard. The tapestries depict 1000 years of Danish world history. Another reception room is the Alexandra Hall that hosts dinners.

Oval Throne and the Tower Room

Throne Room Christianborg Palace

Among other major rooms, are Oval Throne and the Tower Room. From here, her majesty and the Prime Minister of Denmark see upon the kingdom’s legislative duties. I wandered from one stateroom to another, admiring nattering wall paintings, couturier ceilings, and elaborate cast-offs of Danish history. Each piece reminds you of why, Christiansborg is where, the Danish Monarch, is rightly proclaimed.

The Ruins Further Down

During the Palace tour, my guide also informed me about the ruins further down. 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. Experts from the national museum of Denmark were summoned to study the palace yard and the ruins. Following, the royal family decided to conserve the ruins, and in 1924, inaugurated the area for public viewing. Subsequently, the ruins drew heightened public interest. To view the ruins of the first castle, you need to take a separate entrance from the inner courtyard.

The Royal Kitchens

Christiansborg Palace RoyalKitchen

The royal kitchens of the Christiansborg Palace, vaunt Europe’s ‘largest,’ collections of copperware. Hundreds of large banquets have been hosted by these kitchens, making this part of the palace a utopia for food lovers.

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.

The Court Theatre

Christiansborg Palace Sculptures

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.

The Royal Stables

The Royal Stables date back to the seventeenth century. Here you will find divine white horses, 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.

The Palace Tower

This Palace Tower is Copenhagen’s highest point offering panoramic 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.

A Few Things To Remember

  1. Keep it quiet in the palace to enjoy a distraction-free visitation.
  2. Most sections of the Palace can be visited, between 10 AM to 5 PM, except for Mondays, when it’s closed.
  3. From May till September, the palace is open between 9 AM to 5 PM every day.
  4. It remains closed on special occasions when used by the Queen or the parliament.
  5. Take a trip to the parliament, which can only be visited on guided tours.
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