Best known for its Hans Christian Andersen House, the town of Odense on Funen island is also home to Skt. Knud's Domkirke (St. Knud's Cathedral), the only purely Gothic building in Denmark. It contains the relics of St. Knud, a king murdered in a peasant revolt in 1086.
The present Odense Domkirke dates primarily from the 13th century, but it was built on the foundations of an earlier travertine church that was built in 1095.
The church is named for St. Knud, a.k.a. King Canute II. In 1086, Knud was murdered by Jutish peasants angry at his heavy taxation. He was slain along with his brother Benedikt and 17 members of his entourage while kneeling at the altar of the nearby Skt. Albani Kirke, where they had taken refuge. The remains of the church have been excavated in the city park.
The slain king was originally buried in the Skt. Albani Kirke, but miraculous events surrounding his tomb began to be reported and he was soon canonized a saint. His remains were accordingly moved to the Domkirke named for him, where they remain today next to those of Benedikt.
What to See
Odense Domkirke is the purest example of Gothic architecture in Denmark. Inside, it boasts a splendid 16th-century altarpiece by Claus Berg.
But the highlight of the cathedral is definitely the reliquaries containing the skeletons of King St. Knud and his brother Benedikt. The skeleton believed to be that of Knud has undergone forensic investigation and it bears evidence of a club swing from behind - supporting the tradition that Knud was murdered while kneeling at prayer.
Quick Facts on Odense Cathedral
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|Coordinates:||55.395437° N, 10.389097° E (view on Google Maps)|
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Map of Odense Cathedral
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