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UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Denmark

Danish fossil sites, ice fields, marine reserves, traditional hunting grounds, old churches, and more have been inscribed within the country.

The country of Denmark is a Scandinavian country that is located in Northern Europe, made up of the Jutland Peninsula and different islands. The country is located between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Denmark is a country that emerged in its current form in the 10th century and is currently one of the few countries left in the world that has a monarchy. Denmark has eight different United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites designated in the country. Five of these are cultural sites, and three are natural sites.

Some of Denmark's UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones And Church

The Jelling Mounds Runic Stones and Church was the first UNESCO World Heritage site to be designated in Denmark, have been inscribed as such in 1994. It is located in the Vejle municipality of central Jutland in the Region of Southern Denmark and is a cultural site. The Jelling site is the location of two flat-topped almost identical burial mounds, which are 230 feet (70 meters) in diameter and 36 feet (11 meters) high at their tallest points. The mounds were constructed out of turf that was stacked in even layers and show Denmark's past pagan Nordic culture. The north mound has a burial chamber, believe to be for either Thyra, Grom the Old or both of them. The south mound has no burial chamber.

There are two Runic Stones at the site, located between the burial bounds, an example of pagan Nordic culture and the other that shows the Christianization of Denmark and the Danish people. The smaller runic stone was erected by Gorm the Old (?-958), the first historically recognized ruler of the country, that he made to honor his wife, Thyra. The larger runic stone was erected by King Harald Bluetooth (911-987) in memory of his father Gorm the Old and his mother Thyra, as well as marking his conquests and the conversion of the country to Christianity. This stone also has the earliest known depiction of Christ in all of Scandinavia. The church at the site is a small church that is made of whitewashed stone, although it is not the original as at least three previous churches at the location were destroyed by fire. This site is the location of the first wooden church to have been built at Jelling. The inside of the church also has frescos that are from the early 12th century. The site is an impressive example of pagan Nordic culture, as well as the introduction of Christianity into the country.

Roskilde Cathedral

The Roskilde Cathedral was the second UNESCO World Heritage Site to be designated in Denmark, have been inscribed as such in 1995 and is a cultural site. It is located in the city of Roskilde on the island of Zealand in the Zealand Region of Denmark. The Roskilde Cathedral was built over the 12th and 13th centuries, becoming the first Gothic-style cathedral to be built of brick upon completion in all of Scandinavia. The building also has twin spires and a semi-circular gallery in the interior.

The cathedral sits on a small hill, to provide a wondrous view of the town and the Roskilde Fjord. Since completion, the cathedral has been expanded, restored or partially rebuilt on over the years, with each update adding a flavor of that period's architectural style. As an example of this side chapels and porches were added to the building near the end of the 19th century. Starting in the 15th century, the cathedral became renown as a mausoleum for the royal family of Denmark. Since the Reformation in Denmark, where the country transitioned from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism in the early 16th century all but one of the Danish kings and queens have been buried in the mausoleum. The Roskilde Cathedral shows the overview of the development of European religious architecture over centuries as well as monumental funerary art for rulers over time.

Stevns Klint

The Stevns Klint was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014 and is a natural site. The Stevns Klint is located on the island of Zealand in the Zealand Region of Denmark, about 3.7 miles southeast of the town of Store Heddinge. Stevns Klint a 9.32 miles (15 kilometers) long white chalk coastal cliff that is extremely rich in fossils and can reach up to 130 feet (40 meters) at its tallest points. The site's visible fossil record shows amazing evidence of that meteorite impact that is widely believed to have killed the dinosaurs and much other life on Earth around 65 million years ago.

The site also shows evidence of what was life on Earth before the impact as well as the record of fauna and micro-fauna that shows how life on Earth survived and managed to recover after the event. The site is has been very important for scientists to study evidence of this impact and will continue to play a vital role in the future to farther analyze the global impact a meteorite can have on Earth.

Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlement

The Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlement is one of the two most recent locations in the country to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in Denmark, and have been inscribed as such in 2015. This site is a cultural site and is located in the town of Christiansfeld in the municipality of Kolding. The town was founded in 1773 and as a planned settlement of the Lutheran free congregation of the Moravian Church that was done to be centered around the Church square in the center of town.

The architecture of the town is simple, with one or two story tall buildings made out of yellow brick with red tiled roofs. Today many of the buildings in the town are still used, and many are owned by the Moravian church community. The site is an exceptional testimony to the Brethren's principles of the church, as well as being one of the best-preserved sites showing the European Moravian Church's urban planning principles which show their social and ethical values that they placed on the community.

The Current Status And Integrity Of Denmark's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones, and Church are protected by the Churches and Churchyards Consolidated Act of 1992, which provides a buffer zone around the site that prevents buildings being built over 8.5 meters in height or at all in certain directions to compromise the visual integrity of the site. The Museum Act and the Protection of Nature Act put buffer zones around the mounds and runic stones and prohibits any activities that would disturb or damage the sites. To protect the runic stones from erosion, a glass casing was created around the stones to keep them at a fixed temperature and humidity to preserve them and protect them.

The Roskilde Cathedral has a buffer zone around the site too and has had restoration work done on the entire building at the end of the 19th century, with some renovation work done in the last decade on the roof and spires. The building is also protected by the Churches and Churchyards Consolidated Act, and any restoration work needs to be approved by Denmark's heritage agency. The Stevns Klint is protected from development and by local and national legislation in Denmark. The site is threatened by a lot of visitors who collect fossils and negatively impact the fossil heritage of the site, although guidelines and zone buffering are being put into place to prevent his from happening.

The Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlement site is protected by the Buildings and Urban Environment Act and is mostly in good shape and integrity. A committee under the Board of Elders that is under the UNESCO Management Group and a Group of Interested Parties of the site make the decision on the conservation, renovation and maintenance decisions that take place at the site.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Denmark

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Denmark Year of Inscription; Type
Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlement 2015; Cultural
Ilulissat Icefjord 2004; Natural
Jelling Mounds Runic Stones and Church 1994; Cultural
Kronborg Castle 2000; Cultural
North Zealand Par Force Hunting Landscape 2015; Cultural
Roskilde Cathedral 1995; Cultural
Stevns Klint 2014; Natural
Wadden Sea 2009; Natural

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