In collaboration with the
International Astronomical Union


Category of Astronomical Heritage: tangible immovable
Rundetårn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Format: IAU - Outstanding Astronomical Heritage

Description

Geographical position 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2022-08-14 14:24:07
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Rundetårn (Round Tower), , Købmagergade 52A (Pedestrian street), 1150 Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

Location 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 4
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2019-06-17 17:02:30
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Lat. 55° 40′ 52.86″ N, long. 12° 34′ 33.0204″ E, elevation 16m above mean sea level.

 

IAU observatory code 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2019-06-17 12:37:58
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

---

 

Description of (scientific/cultural/natural) heritage 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 5
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2022-08-14 14:20:07
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

 

Rundetårn (Round Tower), Copenhagen (Wikipedia)

Fig. 1. Rundetårn (Round Tower), Copenhagen (Wikipedia)



The new observatory, the ten-storey round tower (Rundetårn), part of the Trinitatis church, was built in 1637/42 by the architect Hans Steenwinkel the Younger (1587--1639). The Rebus on the south facade refers to the patron King Christian IV. (1577--1648), King of Denmark and Norway of 1588 to 1648.
 

209-m-Spiral Ramp (

Fig. 2. 209-m-Spiral Ramp ("Donkey Stairway") in Rundetårn, Copenhagen (Wikipedia, Mariano ZF Barcelona)


The 209-m-Spiral Ramp ("Donkey Stairway", Eselstreppe, equestrian staircase) is unique in European architecture.

The building (Stellaburgis Hafniens) was used for scientific purposes by the University of Copenhagen until 1861, as an astronomical observatory, as a student church and as a university library (founded in 1482). The platform in 35-m height offers excellent observation conditions. In the Great Fire of 1728 the Trinitatis Complex was severely damaged but was rebuilt. The Round Tower is the oldest observatory in Europe, still in operation, as a Public Observatory.

 

History 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2021-03-30 01:00:25
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Rundetårn, Copenhagen, Rebus

Fig. 3. Rundetårn, Copenhagen, Rebus "1642" (Wikipedia, Christian Bickel)



The first director

Christian Sørensen Severin, called Longomontanus (1562--1647) began in 1589 as an assistant to Tycho Brahe in Uraniborg, studied from 1597 to 1602 in Breslau (Wrocław), Danzig (Gdańsk), Königsberg (Kaliningrad) and Rostock, and in 1605 was appointed as a first professor at the University of Copenhagen. His work Astronomia Danica (Amsterdam 1622) was dedicated to Christian IV.

He proposed to replace Tycho’s lost observatories Uraniborg and Stjerneborg, which was destroyed in 1601.

In 1929 the platform on the tower was replaced by a dome.

 

State of preservation 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 14:35:21
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The buiding is still in good condition.

 

 

Comparison with related/similar sites 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 7
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2022-08-14 14:17:54
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Rundetårn, Copenhagen (1642), (Doppelmayr, Johann

Fig. 3. Rundetårn, Copenhagen (1642), (Doppelmayr, Johann Gabriel: Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis. Nuremberg: Homann’s Heirs 1742)

It is a very unique building at this time, a starting point for tower observatories -- comparable to other Mathematical Towers:
Clementinum Prague (1722), Zwehrenturm in Kassel (1710), Specola - Bologna Observatory (1712), Old Vienna Academy Observatory -- tower on the top (1755), Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera of the Jesuits in Milano (1762), Padova (Padua) Observatory (1767), Mannheim Observatory (1772).

Very large tower observatories are:
Kremsmünster, Austria (1749), Mathematical Tower of the University Breslau / Wrocław (1791), Bogotá Observatory, Columbia (1803).

 

Threats or potential threats 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2021-03-30 01:02:17
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

no threats

 

Present use 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2022-08-14 14:25:00
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The Rundetårn is used as a public observatory.

 

 

Astronomical relevance today 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2022-08-14 14:25:35
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The Rundetårn, Copenhagen, was used for scientific purposes by the University of Copenhagen (Library and Observatory) until 1861, then the light pollution from the surrounding city and vibrations caused by the ever increasing traffic in the streets below had made the observations inaccurate. Since then, no modern astronomy was produced any more, the tower is now used for public outreach.

A new Copenhagen observatory, the Østervold Observatory, on a bastion of the city fortifications was inaugurated in 1861 (Neoclassical style) to the design of Hans Christian Hansen (1803--1883), a famous Danish architect, influenced by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781--1841).

 

References

Bibliography (books and published articles) 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 5
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2022-08-14 14:26:50
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

 

Links to external sites 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2022-08-14 14:27:48
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

 

  • PrintPrint contents of 'Description' tab
    (opens in a new window)
  • Theme

    Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century

    Case Study Navigation