Vor Frue Kirke
(Church of Our Lady)

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A Romanesque church probably from around 1175 and built by Esbern Snare, brother of Bishop Absalon. If the date is correct, then it is one of the first brick churches in Denmark, built shortly after the very first brick churches in Ringsted and Sorø. Others date the church from the early 13th century and built by Esbern Snare's daughter Ingeborg. It depends on the unresolved matter of whether Denmark was ahead of or behind Northern Germany in the design of church buildings. A major restoration took place in 1867-71 after the collapse of the central tower in 1827.
Unique in the world in its castle-like appearance resulting from the many towers. The plan is a Greek cross with four octagonal towers supported on the barrel vaulting of the four arms of the cross. Over the crossing the fifth tower, square in shape and supported by four stone columns. The copper-clad roofs date from the restoration of 1871. The Romanesque round-arched windows are mostly reconstructions. The sacristy attached to the north side of the eastern arm (in middle picture) is Gothic. The ground floor was built around 1400 and the upper floor was added in the 1500s.

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The interior is smaller than expected. The above picture shows the vault below the central tower, supported by the four columns. The original granite columns were destroyed when the tower collapsed in 1827, although remains may be seen in the churchyard. The present columns date from the restoration completed in 1871. The trapezoidal capitals and the bases, though, were redone about 1920 in a more accurate reconstruction.

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Looking north, east and west. The walls were white-washed until 1871, but that is now only retained in the choir. There are remains of a wall-painting in the north window of the choir (middle picture). In the south transept (last picture) there is an original Romanesque doorway, whereas the windows are reconstructions.
The altarpiece is heavily ornamented Baroque from 1650 by Lorentz Jørgensen. Unpainted until 1701, the colours restored in 1972. The pulpit is from the 1870s. 

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The ornamented granite font dates from around 1200

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A restored Gothic building in the north-west corner of the churchyard was built late in the 15th century as a school-house and priest's dwelling. Crow-stepped, niche-faced gables, and pointed window openings. Over the road on the south-eastern side also a priest's house in the same style and from the same period. Both have stone foundations.

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Old memorial stones in the churchyard

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In the immediate surroundings of the church are many attractive old houses. The main square in front of the church has a formal hedge scheme in a  zigzag, labyrinth shape designed in 1953 by C.Th. Sørensen.


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