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Roskilde, Denmark

Roskilde is a city about 35km west of Copenhagen on the island of Zealand. It is an ancient city, dating from the Vikings Age. Roskilde is the main city in Roskilde Municipality. The city has 45,824 inhabitants.

Several tourist attractions draw visitors from around Denmark and the world. Such as the Roskilde Cathedral which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Roskilde Music Festival and the Viking Ship Museum.

The local university has an education program that invites international students to attend for a year.


According to the Saxo Grammaticus (the first written history of Denmark), in the 980s, Harald I of Denmark (Harald Bluetooth) built a church and a royal estate in Roskilde. Harald was buried at the church which is on the same site as today's Roskilde Cathedral.

In 1020, Roskilde became a bishopric, making it the church's most important town in Denmark. A brick church was built in 1170 which later became the cathedral. In the following years many other churches were built in the town.

Roskilde was given the status of a market town in 1268. It was probably the largest and most important town in Denmark at the time. Roskilde continued to thrive until 1443 with the support of the Roman Catholic Church. However, as a result of the Protestant Reformation and the closure of the Roman Catholic Church in Denmark it lost its earlier status. Roskilde Cathedral did however continue to be the place where the kings and queens of Denmark were buried.

In the 17th century the town suffered from plague, wars with the Swedes and a number of devastating fires. Recovery began in the 18th century with the opening of the railway from Copenhagen in 1847.

The Roskilde Viking Ship Museum opened in 1969. The museum was built to house five newly discovered Viking ships which were found in the Roskilde Fjord.

Since 1971 the Roskilde Festival, a rock music festival, has been held annually on the fairgrounds near Roskilde. It has grown to become one of the biggest music festivals in Europe.

LastUpdate: 2015-04-21 22:58:54