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Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, this was Scandinavia's first Gothic cathedral to be built of brick and it encouraged the spread of this style throughout northern Europe. It has been the mausoleum of the Danish royal family since the 15th century. Porches and side chapels were added up to the end of the 19th century. Thus it provides a clear overview of the development of European religious architecture.

Cathédrale de Roskilde

Élevée aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, c'est la première cathédrale gothique scandinave construite en brique. Elle fut à l'origine de la diffusion de ce style dans toute l'Europe du Nord. Mausolée de la famille royale du Danemark depuis le XVe siècle, elle fut enrichie jusqu'à la fin du XIXe siècle de porches et de chapelles latérales. Elle offre ainsi aujourd'hui un résumé manifeste de l'évolution de l'architecture religieuse européenne.

كاتدرائية روزكيلد

شُيّدت الكاتدرائيّة بين القرنين الثاني والثالث عشر وهي أوّل كاتدرائيّة قوطيّة اسكاندينافيّة بُنيت من حجر القرميد. وكانت سابقة أدّت إلى انتشار هذا الطراز المعماري في أوروبا الشماليّة قاطبةً. وبما أنها كانت ضريح العائلة الملكيّة في الدانمارك منذ القرن الخامس عشر، بنيت فيها حتّى نهاية القرن التاسع عشر الشرفات والمصليات الجانبيّة. وهي تختصر اليوم تطوّر الهندسة المعماريّة الدينيّة الأوروبيّة.

source: UNESCO/ERI



source: UNESCO/ERI

Кафедральный собор в городе Роскилле

Построенный в XII-XIII вв., этот возведенный из кирпича первый готический кафедральный собор в Скандинавии послужил примером для распространения этого стиля по всей Северной Европе. С XV в. собор стал усыпальницей датского королевского семейства. В конце XIX в. к зданию собора были пристроены портики и боковые часовни. Все эти строения иллюстрируют ход развития европейской религиозной архитектуры.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Catedral de Roskilde

Levantada entre los siglos XII y XIII, Roskilde fue la primera catedral gótica de Escandinavia enteramente construida con ladrillo y su estilo arquitectónico se difundió posteriormente por todo el norte de Europa. Desde el siglo XV se convirtió en mausoleo de la familia real danesa y hasta finales del siglo XIX se le fueron añadiendo diversos porches y capillas laterales. Su edificio actual sintetiza claramente la evolución de la arquitectura religiosa europea a lo largo de ocho siglos.

source: UNESCO/ERI


source: NFUAJ

Kathedraal van Roskilde

De Kathedraal van Roskilde werd in de 12e en 13e eeuw gebouwd en was de eerste gotische kathedraal van Scandinavië gebouwd van baksteen. Dit moedigde de verspreiding van deze bouwstijl aan in heel Noord-Europa. De kathedraal is het mausoleum van de Deense koninklijke familie sinds de 15e eeuw. Portieken en zijkapellen werden toegevoegd tot aan de 19e eeuw, waardoor het gebouw een overzicht geeft van de ontwikkeling van de Europese religieuze architectuur. De kathedraal is altijd in gebruik geweest en heeft daardoor de nodige renovaties gekend. In de laat 19e eeuw werd het hele gebouw gerestaureerd en tussen 2006 en 2009 het dak en de torenspitsen.

Source: unesco.nl

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Roskilde Cathedral in August © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Roskilde Cathedral, on the Island of Zealand is a large brick-built aisled Gothic-style basilica, with twin spires and a semi-circular gallery within. Placed on a small hilltop overlooking the Roskilde Fjord the Cathedral is a very significant landmark. Around it, in its setting, the structure of the medieval town is still visible, within which, some medieval buildings and a number of fine 17th and 18th century houses remain. 

Built about 1170, the original Cathedral structure was in Romanesque form but, when half-built, the plan was changed under the influence of the incoming Gothic style from France. In the following centuries, chapels, porches, and other structures were added, each in the current architectural style of the time. As a result, the Cathedral has emerged as an epitome of the history of European architecture in a single structure.

As with many early structures, the bricks in the external walls vary in size and colour. The interior walls were originally left bare, apart from the vault and arch soffits, which were plastered. The entire interior was subsequently coated with a greyish-yellow coloured smooth stucco, and most of the rich original wall paintings have disappeared.

The Cathedral's royal monuments commemorate an outstanding series as royal burials that have occurred from the 10th century until the present time. With only one exception since the reformation, all Danish kings and queens have been buried in the Cathedral, their tombs representing the evolution of funerary monumental art.

Roskilde Cathedral is an outstanding example of the early use of brick in the construction of large religious buildings in Northern Europe. Because of the successive addition of chapels and porches to commemorate Danish royalty since the 16th century, it is also an exceptional example of the evolution of European architectural styles in a single structure.

Criterion (ii): Roskilde Cathedral is an outstanding example of the earliest major ecclesiastical building in brick in Northern Europe and had a profound influence on the spread of brick for this purpose over the whole region.

Criterion (iv): Both in its form and setting, Roskilde Cathedral is an outstanding example of a North European Cathedral complex especially noteworthy for the successive architectural styles used in ancillary chapels and porches added in the course of the centuries during which it has served as the mausoleum of the Danish royal family.


The Cathedral and all later chapels are included in the property. An anticipated extension of the buffer zone will emphasize the relationship between the monument and its setting, thereby strengthening its overall integrity. Together, this combination will ensure that all relevant elements will be protected in order to fully express the value of the Cathedral in its setting.


Like any major religious structure in continuous use since first built, Roskilde Cathedral has undergone many changes. Earlier chapels were demolished to permit the construction of royal funerary chapels, and sporadic fires have led to periodic restoration and reconstruction, often accompanied by significant stylistic changes. The major restoration initiated by King Christian IV during the early 17th century to remedy the dilapidation that followed the Reformation resulted in substantial changes being made.

In the late 19th century the entire building was restored: the work being led by the highly qualified churchwarden in collaboration with leading architects and art historians of the time. Further renovation work to the roof and spires took place between 2006 and 2009. Restoration work on the chapels is being continuously conducted, whilst maintaining a profound respect for their design and materials. The extensive restoration documentation is kept in the Cathedrals Archives, and in the Archives of the National Museum.

Since the 16th century the Cathedral has served as the Danish Royal Family mausoleum, with the latest funeral occurring in 2000.

Protection and management requirements

The Cathedral is protected under the Churches and Churchyards Consolidated Act of 1992. This requires any alteration to it to be approved by the diocesan authorities after consulting with the National Museum, and the Royal Inspector of Listed State Buildings.

Most of the buildings in the setting beyond the buffer zone surrounding the Cathedral are protected under the Preservation of Buildings Act. This requires any alteration to be approved by the Heritage Agency of Denmark.

The Town Plan regulates the immediate surroundings of the Cathedral, putting in place public controls over such aspects as new buildings, traffic, lighting, signboards and paving.

In order to strengthen the protection of the setting of the property the Town Council of Roskilde is currently collaborating with the Heritage Agency of Denmark on an extension to the buffer zone, and on implementing protected view-lines in the Town Plan.

Roskilde Cathedral is to review its management plan for the property in 2010.