In Store Heddinge, almost 80 km (49.7 miles) away from Copenhagen’s centre, lies a natural wonder. It’s Stevns Klint (“cliff” in English), declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. This beautiful white chalk cliff with a 15 km (9.3 miles) length is a window to Earth’s heart. It’s also a glimpse into the history of our planet and how it was shaped the way it’s now.
Stevns Klint is located in the Danish countryside and you can get there by car or metro. However, driving is the fastest option, as it takes around an hour, while metro takes around 7 hours. Driving is also the most interesting option it allows you to explore the countryside.
Stevns Klint is a place that deserves your time exploring it and roaming around its historical spots. But, even if you don’t have too much time, you should at least give it a thirty minutes visit. It’s definitely an experience that you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Denmark. Even more so when you have the privilege of visiting without purchasing tickets (only 30 kr. for parking).
The Church at Stevns Klint
When you get to Stevns Klint, the Old Højerup Church welcomes you. It was built in 1250, which is more than 700 years! It was first located at a safe distance but, year after year, the cliff has slowly approached it. According to some locals, in the 1600s, the erosion started cracking a portion of the land used as a cemetery. It caused that many skeletons and coffins were exposed and even fell to the beach.
When entering the church, you can still see some gravestones of people from many centuries ago. It’s impossible not to imagine how they lived, what happened to them and other questions about their lives. But it also makes you think about all the other people that have been in this place throughout its history.
In 1910, the last service in the Old Højerup Church was held, because it was no longer considered safe. Eighteen years later, a massive landslide took the whole chancel down to the beach. Instead of dooming the church, this attracted a lot of tourists, which sparked the decision to start a restoration. Reinforcement works have taken place ever since, in order to conserve this historical place.
Although the church hasn’t offered services for the local congregation in more than 100 years, it still serves the community. It serves as a historical place and it’s also used to celebrate weddings. Third-party companies, like this one, offer wedding packages that include a civil ceremony at Old Højerup Church.
Interiors and exteriors
The inside of the church is what some people call “a blast from the past”. That’s because it shows the simplicity and humbleness of the people who built this place. You can find several benches and a small, colorful, rich-in-details altar that turns its back to the cliff. Then there’s a door that leads to a balcony, from where you can see the deep blue North Sea. The balcony was built where the church chancel was once located, before the landslide in 1928.
Only 30.3 km (18.8 miles) beyond, is the Swedish city of Falsterbo, which you can visit going through the Øresund Bridge. The sea view, what’s beyond and what lies in the bottom of Stevns Klint makes for a breathtaking experience. That’s that’s somehow imcomplete if you don’t get over your vertigo and go down to the beach.
The North Sea shore
Down there, the inmense sea and huge rocks remind you of how tiny and insignificant humans are. It’s one of those places where high-resolution cameras can’t capture the beautiful lighting and colors of the landscape. But in order to get there, first you have to get down a very long (and a little scary) staircase. When you do it, take your time, go slow and carefully, last thing you want is causing an accident. Once in the beach, explore it, walk along and study the rocky formations. You can even walk to the Stevns Lighthouse, around 2 km (1.24 miles) away from there.
Stevns Klint, A Geological Wonder
Stevns Klint is the best exposed Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. This is basically what scientists call proof of a huge geological event that happened 65 millions years ago. According to them, this site is actual evidence of the meteorite impact that caused the extinction of dinosaurs. It’s one of the “scars” that said impact caused on the surface of our planet.
Stevns Klint also harbours record of the cloud of ash that the meteorite caused upon its impact. Said impact took place in the coast of Mexicos’s Yucatán Peninsula and changed the ecology and geology of the planet. It was also responsible for the disappearance of over 50% of all life on Earth, including the extinction of dinosaurs. That’s why visiting Stevns Klint is a must, not only for scientists and science enthusiasts, but pretty much everyone.
In conclusion, Stevns Klint is a wonder of nature that reminds us how tiny we’re in comparison to our world. And thus, how tiny we and our home are in the universe. This site is also a silent witness of cataclysms, a reminder that Earth is always in constant changing. That as a species, we’ve only been here for a few minutes in comparison to other species and the world itself.
Is there any other geological spot with millions of years of history that you’d want to visit? Please tell us in the comments section below!