The Round Tower, Iconic Guardian of Copenhagen’s Skyline

Being one of Copenhagen's landmark observatories, the Round Tower offers an unforgettable view of the city that defines its skyline. Read on to find out about its history and importance.

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This image shows the top of The Round Tower seen from the ground. The Trinitatis Church can be seen next to it.
The Rundetaarn (Round Tower) in central Copenhagen. vladacanon/bigstockphoto.com

Copenhagen has hundreds of interesting places, particularly in the city center, where the most iconic places are. People consider this area the historic and cultural heart, where past meets the present in a seamless, inmersive way. It’s where you can find places like Nyhavn, the City Hall, the Church of the Holy Ghost and many others. Perhaps one of the most emblematic is the Round Tower (“Rundetårn”), from where you can see the city’s skyline.

This image shows the Amagertorv square in the center of the city. People walking around can be seen. It's late in the afternoon.
Amagertorv square in the city centre

A bit of history

First, the Round Tower is a 42-meter (137.7 ft.) tower with more than three centuries of history. Built between 1635 and 1642 as an astronomical observatory, it was one of King Christian IV’s many architechtural projects. The Round Tower is part of what was called the “Trinitatis Complex”. It was conformed by the observatory, a library and a church for the intellectuals of that time.

In comparison to other iconic buildings from Copenhagen, the Rundetårn has a more restrained design, but it’s still very unique. Mostly because of its helical corridor, a 281 m (921.9 ft.) spiral ramp with 7.5 turns. This provides the only access to upper levels, critical for transporting fragile equipment, books and other artifacts in that time. Nowadays, to get in you have to purchase a ticket: 25 kroner per adults and 5 per children. It’s worth noting that there’s no discount for students nor elders and children must be from 5-15 years old.

This image shows the Round Tower seen from the ground from another angle. People waiting in line to get in can be seen in the background.
The Round Tower
This image shows the entrance of the Round Tower. There are ornaments sculpted around the door and you can say by its color that it's a very old object.
The Round Tower’s Entrance. zastavkin/bigstockphoto.com

Differents spots in the Round Tower

On the way to the top, there are interesting places that you can visit whenever you please during the tour. In the fifth level, you can find the Library Hall, which used to be the library of the Copenhagen University. It is now an exhibition room where paintings, photography and other visual art by Danish artists are displayed. By the time we visited, the art exhibition Nordic Noir Art (paintings and photography by Carsten Krogstrup and Steen Larsen).

Next, you can find the Bell Loft, where the church bells used to hang. There you can see the original 300-year-old timbers that used to hold them and other related historical artifacts. Before you get to the observatory deck, go into the niche at the end of the ramp. Look at the hollow core that sustains the ramp, stand in the glass floor and look down to the bottom.

This image shows the exhibition room inside of the Round Tower. There are several paintings in display and some people can be seen walking around and staring at them.
Exhibition room with the Nordic Noir Art
This image shows some photographs displayed at the exhibition room. They show several moments from the 20th century, like the moon landing.
Photographs displayed at the exhibition room
This image shows some artifacts in display near the bell room at the Round Tower. There's a little book, a pottery, a photograph, an envelope and other objects that are hard to recognize. They are kept behind a glass.
Interesting historical artifacts in the Bell Loft
This image shows the Bell Loft, where several artifacts from that period of time are displayed.
The Bell Loft, displaying some other artifacts

A view to die to for

The tower stopped being used as a proper astronomical observatory in the late 19th century due to outdating. However, it was later opened to the public and to this very day, the tower remains mainly an observation building. It’s also an important historical monument and an exhibition venue that everyone can visit. The views that the Round Tower renders are breathtaking and have helped define the classical look of Copenhagen. It gives a glimpse to all the other historical places from the city centre that define the city skyline.

All you need to do is be brave and go all the way up to the observatory deck. You’ll see the churches of Our Lady, Our Saviour and the Holy Ghost, Rosenborg Palace and the Copenhagen City Hall. Just have in mind that it’s a 10-minute walk with seven and half turns and a short stair climb. It’ll probably take your breath away, but think of it as the buildup to a wonderful conclussion.

This image shows the helical corridor that goes through the Round Tower.
The helical corridor.
This image shows the observatory deck where people go to see the skyline of the city. Some people can be seeen taking pictures and enjoying the view.
The observatory deck
This image shows the skyline that can be seen from the observatory deck. The City Hall tower can be seen in the background.
The view from the observatory deck of the Round Tower
This image shows the astronomical observatory on top of the Round Tower. There's a telescope and several infographics.
The astronomical observatory

Finally, just make sure to check the Round Tower’s website so you can plan your visit for the perfect time. You’ll enjoy the history, learn some of the Danish culture and even exercise a little bit! For all the historical sites lovers, the Rundetårn is a must-visit with a piece of both Danish culture and history. For everyone else, the incredible sights from this guardian of Copenhagen’s skyline are a first-class experience.

So are you planning to go to the Round Tower? Or did you already go? Please, tell us in the comments section what are you most excited to see or what was your favorite spot! 

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