Christiansfeld, A Moravian Church Settlement- World Heritage Site | Kidadl


Christiansfeld, A Moravian Church Settlement- World Heritage Site

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Christiansfeld is a town located in Southern Denmark.

The town of Christiansfeld is popularly recognized because of its status of being the only town that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Christiansfeld has been included as a World Heritage site owing to its well-preserved construction style of a Moravian church settlement.

Christiansfeld is a town in the Kolding municipality which has been constructed around the central Church Square and is further bordered by two parallelly running streets in the east and the west. The town was founded back in the latter half of the 18th century but is believed to perfectly depict the plan of a planned settlement under the order of the Moravian church.

The humanistic town planning best expresses the democratic organization of the famous Moravian church along with its pioneering egalitarian philosophy. Many of the buildings constructed back in the day are owned and perhaps used to date by the local Moravian church community. In July 2015, Christiansfeld was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site on the grounds of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, whose primary lookout is to preserve certain cultural heritages for the upcoming younger generations.

Interestingly, it has also been recognized that some of the people currently living in Christiansfeld are descendants of people who originally arrived in Christiansfeld from Hernhut, Germany, to construct the town for the first time. Currently, apart from its status as a World Heritage Site, Christiansfeld is also very well known for its wine festivals, gingerbread, and beautifully made ceramic stoves. Scroll down to learn more about this UNESCO-recognized Danish town.

Geographic Location

Christiansfeld is a very small place located in the Southern part of Denmark at a distance of around 123 mi (198 km) from the capital city of Copenhagen. The Danish town has a population of merely 3,008 people but is recognized as a one-of-a-kind town with unique architecture and building style.

The town is situated at an elevation of 91.86 ft (28 m) above sea level in the province of Kolding Kommune. In exact geographical terms, the town is located at 55°21'29'N 9°29'13'E. Moreover, Christiansfeld experiences low temperatures and is a cold place. The postal code of this town in South Denmark is 6070. Did you know, the town of Christiansfeld has a GMT +1 time zone.

History And Cultural Significance

Christiansfeld has a pretty interesting historical background, unlike most establishments in Denmark, it was created to construct a near-perfect city for Moravian Brethren in Denmark. Earlier Moravian settlements of Gnadau and Herrnhaag have greatly influenced the plans of this town. The significant parts of this town were constructed back from 1773-1800.

Once when King Christian VIII visited the German town of Herrnhut, a place established by the Moravian church, he was so impressed that he asked the Herrnhuts to establish a near similar town in Denmark as well. Following this demand, the construction process of the town was underway in no time and similar-looking buildings could be seen in this Denmark town as well. Interestingly, the town of Christiansfeld was named after the Danish king, King Christian VIII himself. The king also announced 10-year tax holidays and himself paid 10% of the constructions costs of new buildings in order to encourage people to construct a building and help Christiansfeld grow. The entire town of Christiansfeld was built around the famous Moravian church, which signified placing God at the center of everything. The Moravian community, which is responsible for the establishment of Christiansfeld, is based on the grounds of equality which is reflected in the construction style as well. The town is believed to be perfectly symmetrical, with rectangular streets and similar-looking houses built with yellow brick and red roofs. There were some unique cultural practices back in the day when the Moravian community established houses on the basis of age, gender, and civil status. As all unmarried women lived under one roof, and all bachelors lived in a common house known as the 'Brother's House.'

Once any of them got married, they would move into a house of their own. There was also a Widow's House where all bereaved women lived together. Another unique feature of the town is the Moravian cemetery, where all the men are buried to the left in the Western direction, whereas the women, on the contrary, are buried to the right East. Interestingly, irrespective of whether it was a man or a woman, all the tombstones looked alike, depicting no discrepancy in death.

A number of buildings constructed by the Moravian Brethren back in the day exist to date, and many still survive their purpose.

World Heritage Site

Christiansfeld was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, becoming the only town in Denmark to have received this honor. It was recognized as a World Heritage Site primarily under criterion (iii) and criterion (iv), which highlighted the unique cultural values of Christiansfeld and its importance for the upcoming younger generations.

Christiansfeld was earlier too recognized as a unique settlement with its rectangular streets, symmetrical town plans, the large church placed in the very center of the city, and the lesser recognized Moravian cemetery as well, which undertook unique practices. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a massive source of tourist attraction owing to the excellent preservation of the authentic buildings of Christiansfeld, which were constructed back in the late 1700s by the Moravian community.

Interestingly, it was due to Christiansfeld's unique architecture that it was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1993 itself but failed to make the cut. In the recent past, there have been thousands of tourists visiting the Danish town every year. The massive church in the center of Christiansfeld is undoubtedly one of the biggest attractions, alongside the old city buildings which all look similar to one another and the unique cemetery of Christiansfeld. It has been observed that Christiansfeld is arguably the best-preserved European city among all such cities which depict cultural elements from the olden days.

Other Miscellaneous Facts

Apart from the unique history and culture of Christiansfeld, the town has a host of other attraction points and unique features which makes it one of the most visited places in Denmark as well as the entire European continent. Let us take a look at some never before seen facts about Christiansfeld.

Apart from the architectural and church-related history of this town, you can also find traces of the Moravian community in certain food items across Christiansfeld and most notably the renowned gingerbread. It was the Moravian Brethren who initiated the concept of baking gingerbread in ceramic stoves back in the latter half of the 1700s, the business became profitable in a matter of time, and with the advent of time, gingerbreads which were earlier found only in Christiansfeld were now found all across Denmark. At the same time, it was the unique flavor of these gingerbreads that attracted people from all parts of the country.

As of today, you can find a variety of gingerbread and tarts throughout Denmark, especially during the times of Christmas, but the gingerbread found in Christiansfeld is still believed to be the best of all. The Brødremenighedens Hotel built back in 1773 still exists today and is operational by all means although its services have altered slightly with the passage of time. Earlier this hotel served as a guest house only for the members of the church but ever since the mid-1880s, the hotel welcomes even those who aren't a part of the church and offers them a stay. The town of Christiansfeld is also famous for its wine festival celebrated during the month of August. This is when the entire town of Christiansfeld springs into life. Apart from gingerbread, honey cake is another food item that is deeply associated with the town of Christiansfeld and offers a unique experience to tourists.

Several tourists who have visited this Danish town believe that it is so small that one can comfortably tour it in less than a couple of hours! Although Christiansfeld is the only Danish town that is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are other places that are listed as World Heritage Sites in Denmark. Interestingly many of them are at a short distance from Christiansfeld such as the Kronborg Castle, Roskilde Cathedral, and some others as well.


What is Christiansfeld known for?

Christiansfeld is well known for its unique architecture which is a sign of the early style of settlement by the Moravian church. At the same time, the honey cakes, ceramic stoves, and wine festivals are also an integral part of the town.

When was Christiansfeld found?

Christiansfeld was established in 1773 by order of King Christian VIII, following which the Moravian Brethren initiated immediate construction of the town.

Who is Christiansfeld named after?

The town of Christiansfeld was named after the Danish king, King Christian VIII.

Where is Christiansfeld located?

Christiansfeld is a town in South Denmark located at a distance of around 123 mi (198 km) from Copenhagen.

What is the significance of Christiansfeld?

Christiansfeld is recognized as a testament to the Moravian community who set up this entire town in 1773. The Danish town depicts the unique architecture and cultural values which aren't found in any other part of the world.

When and why was the Christiansfeld declared a World Heritage Site?

The town of Christiansfeld was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in July 2015, owing to its unique architecture and cultural values of a particular community which has surprisingly been preserved in excellent condition since its inception by the Moravian community back in 1773.

Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

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