(active 1640s in Copenhagen)

Exterior view

Rundetaarn, Copenhagen

During the Middle Ages, Copenhagen became an important town for trade across the Baltic Sea, as did many other market towns along the Danish coast. To protect the trading centre, a huge fortification was erected encircling the town. In the middle of the 15th century Copenhagen became the royal residence and (in 1443) the capital of the Kingdom of Denmark, which at that time included all of Norway, the southern third of Sweden and large areas of northern Germany. Christian IV had new Renaissance buildings constructed in the medieval town, among them the Børsen (Exchange, 1619-40) by the Dutch architects Lourens van Steenwinckel and Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger; the Rundetaarn (Round Tower, 1643) with an Astronomical Observatory; the Rosenborg Palace (before 1613), a Renaissance parade castle not used as a permanent residence; and the Tøjhus (Royal Arsenal, 1598-1604).

With its distinctive spiral ramp, the Round Tower is one of Denmark's best-known and most visited structures. It was built as a platform for the university observatory and for centuries it was the centre of Danish astronomy. The foundation stone was laid in 1637 and five years later the Round Tower was finished as the first part of the Trinity Complex, which was designed to accommodate three things: the observatory at the top of the tower, the university library above the Trinity Church and the church itself below.

The Round Tower is built by King Christian IV, who constructed its round walls in the royal colours yellow and red. To get to the top, one needs to walk up the spiral walk, which is 85,5 meters long close to the hollow core of the building.

Halfway up the tower is the old Library Hall, that once housed the entire book collection of the university.

The tower platform on top has a great 360 degrees city view centred by the observatory, which is still used in the winter months and is thus the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.