Round and Round the Rundetaarn

Thick, round, and reaching to the sky, Copenhagen's Rundetaarn is something you need to get inside to fully experience. 

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, the Rundetaarn really is a uniquely fascinating building worth visiting in the center of old Copenhagen. Constructed in the 17th century as the city's astronomical observatory, the tower today offers beautiful panoramic views of Copenhagen. And while I'm a firm believer that any opportunity to view a panorama is worth taking, the Rundetaarn offers something extra special. 


The insider of the Rundetaarn is totally without stairs, except for a brief flight at the top. Instead, the inside of the tower is a continuous ramp spiraling around a hollow Naboo-like inner core. The ramps and the whitewashed walls, which today present beautiful backgrounds for photos, had a fully functional purpose at the time of construction, as the ramps allowed horses to pull carts full of sensitive astronomical equipment to nearly the top of the tower.

The inside ramps are actually smooth enough that in the early 1700s, Czar Peter the Great of Russia rode a horse to the top of the tower with his wife in a carriage behind. Pretty, pretty swanky. 


Today, you won't have visiting heads of state riding horses up and down the Rundetaarn's halls. Instead, you'll have something way better — yearly unicycle races! Every Spring, unicyclists race up and down the Rundetaarn, with each competitor likely hoping to break the record set in 1988, in which a unicyclist with thighs probably as big as trees rode to the top of the tower and back down in one minute and 48.7 seconds. 


And even without the unicycle races, the tower provides another perspective on the whole of the city. As Copenhagen is a joy to explore on foot, bicycle, or by boat, it is easy to get lost at seeing everything from ground level. The Rundetaarn instead allows Copenhagen to blossom out around you, especially as the majority of the old city — aside from the city's glorious spires — are shorter than the tower, allowing your eyes to fully feast.