From wooden church to twin-spired cathedral
Roskilde Cathedral started life as a wooden church built by King Harald Bluetooth. In the 1030s, Estrid, sister of King Canute the Great, had the wooden version replaced by a travertine church. Half a century later, Bishop Svend Normand had a new, larger travertine…
Four of the pillars in Roskilde Cathedral are said to contain the immured bones of the church's first benefactors, including Estrid and Harald Bluetooth. An investigation of the Estrid pillar revealed the skull of a woman, but probably not Estrid's. Harald Bluetooth's pillar, however, contained no bones. King Harald Bluetooth was killed in circa 987 AD during the war against his son Sweyn Forkbeard. A century later, the German chronicler, Adam of Bremen, recorded that the army had brought Harald's body to Roskilde, royal seat of the Danes, but it is uncertain if he is actually buried there. At the time of his death, his son Sweyn ruled over most of Denmark, which makes it unlikely that Harald's men would have been able to bury him at Roskilde. The site of his burial remains a mystery.
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