The Round Tower, also called Rundetaarn, is a 17th-century tower in Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the many architectural projects of Christian IV of Denmark. Built as an astronomical observatory, it is noted for its equestrian staircase, a 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the platform at the top (34.8 meters above ground), and its views over Copenhagen. The tower is part of the Trinitatis Complex which also includes a chapel, the Trinitatis Church, and an academic library.
The tower is noted for its equestrian staircase, a 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the platform at the top
At the top of the Round Tower, you find the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. King Christian IV erected the tower to enable astronomers from the University of Copenhagen to gaze at the stars far above the lights and the smoke of the city. For centuries, it was the center of Danish astronomy and the point of departure for meteorological observations and surveying. The Observatory has undergone several changes throughout history and the present Observatory dates from 1929.
To get to the top, one needs to walk up the spiral ramp, which is 268,5 meters long at the outer wall and only 85,5 meters long closest to the core of the building. The Spiral Ramp winds 7½ times around the tower’s hollow core and is the only way to the top. It is the main thoroughfare of the Round Tower, giving access to both the Library Hall, the Bell Loft, and the hollow core. The core is hollow, and you can step inside one of the open niches and stand on a glass floor, hovering 25 meters above the ground. The glass is more than 50 mm thick and can carry up to 900 kg per square meter.
It is not least because of the Spiral Ramp that the Round Tower is the perhaps most iconic building not only in Copenhagen but in Denmark. It is the only one of its kind in a Danish context, inspired by both German Renaissance castles and ancient structures, including the Tower of Babel. Even today, the Spiral Ramp daily swirls so many different tongues that it is worthy of a Tower of Babel.