Denmark's Kronborg Slot: the King and Queen's apartments, ballroom, and chapel
The first European castle Allan (@hanedane) took me to see was Kronborg Slot in Helsingør, Denmark. In the photograph above, taken from the cobblestone courtyard, you can see the chapel straight ahead, with the windows of the ballroom above it on the third floor. The staircase tower is to the right and King Frederick II and Queen Sophie's apartments sit on the left wing's third floor.
The apartment windows face east overlooking the Øresund, the strait between Denmark and Sweden. Frederick II was the king who expanded his wealth via sound dues charged to ships attempting to sail the strait south to the trading port of Copenhagen (discussed in more detail in The Sovereign post on my Steemit blog). These revenues paid for the building of Kronborg in 1574; the castle was first inhabited by the royal family 10 years later.
Frederick II married his half-cousin Sophie Mecklenburg in 1572; she was 14 and he was 38. Sophie was later known as one of the most educated queens of her time. The queen was also said to have nursed her children personally through illness; something most Renaissance queens apparently did not do. Incidentally, Frederick and Sophie were grandparents of the tyrannical and tax-loving King Charles I of England who was executed for high treason in 1649.
The royal apartments at Kronborg were burned out in 1629; by then, Frederick II was dead and Sophie had been exiled to Sweden. The rooms pictured below were rebuilt in the 1630s by their son, King Christian IV, who modernized the apartments in Baroque style.
The queen's chambers opened into the gallery (below), a long hallway with two large paintings that led down to the Great Ballroom on the south end of the castle.
The gallery painting above depicts Queen Margrethe receiving the Swedish crown from King Albrecht in 1389. It was painted by Gerhard Honthorst in the 1630s during Christian IV's restoration of the castle after the fire in 1629.
Below is the spacious castle ballroom:
Leaving the ballroom, we descended the spiral staircase in the central tower down to the castle courtyard. Below are some interior and exterior photos of the stair tower.
A few steps eastward through the courtyard bring you to the chapel's double doors. This small yet magnificent castle church was originally inaugurated in 1582 and completely escaped damage from the fire of 1629.
In the 1700s it was dismantled by the military to serve as a gymnasium! A century later, however, the chapel furniture was replaced and it was reinaugurated.
Note the hand grasping the chapel's doorknob!
At this point, we've explored the eastern and southern wings of Kronborg Slot. Two more posts are still to come: an exploration of the castle's cavernous and spooky north end and a celebration of Kronborg's rotten connection to Shakespeare's play, "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark."
Thank you for reading and joining us on our travels! We're Allan and Stephanie... making our way through middle age.
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