One of the nicest places Laura and I visited while on our honeymoon was the tiny island of Hven.  It is a short ferry ride from Copenhagen and very different in character.  Laura desperately wanted to get out of the city and see some countryside.  I was drawn to the island to see if I could find the place where Tycho Brahe had actually made his historic astronomical observations.


A duck with ducklings!


They have lovely houses on Hven.


Very pretty flowers.


A close-up.


Here I ...


... and Laura are near the marina.


A beautiful marina.


Lovely boats.


Laura by a nice garden.


Hven is the northernmost place in which Durum wheat is grown.

"Tycho Brahes Ven"

"When he discovered a new star in the constellation of Cassiopeia in 1572, Tycho Brahe became a leading figure in the world of astronomy.  In order not to lose Tycho, the King of Denmark, Fredrik II gave him the island of Hven, and a yearly endowment.  He also financed the building of Tycho's palace, Uraniborg, on the highest point of the island.  He finally left Hven in 1597 and died in 1601 in Prague."

-From a posted sign on Hven. 


Tycho near the garden.


A side view.


An early rendition of Tycho.


"Uraniborg was not a big palace.  The squerecenter was only 15 by 15 meters and the walls was only 11 meters high.  Tycho Brahe and his untitled cohabitee Kirsten Jörgensdotter had eight children.  Uraniborg soon became too small, but when Stjärneborg was built, Tycho Brahe got new workrooms for him and his students."

-From a posted sign on Hven. 


The layout of Uraniborg.


An old map showing Uraniborg on Hven.


"Tycho Brahe found that his palace could not provide sufficiently stable foundations for his instruments so he built a partially subterranean observatory, Stjärneborg."

"Here his instruments could be anchored with stability and were protected from the wind.  The observatory consisted of a central, square room and five round these crypts of different sizes.  The domes above the crypts could be partially of completely removed."

"The instruments were torn from their foundations in the crypts in 1597 when Tycho took them with him to Prague.  There, he was assisted by Johannes Kepler who later calculated the movements of the planets.  It was based upon these calculations that Newton then discovered the law of gravity."

"The present domes were installed in 1951 in connection with an archaeological dig at the site."

-From a posted sign on Hven. 


The archaeological domes.


One of the instrument mounts.


Another instrument mount.


The third mount.

"The gardens"

"The gardens are first mentioned in the annals of Uraniborg from 1591, towards the end of Tycho Brahe's time on Ven.  Around his palace, Brahe had four similar gardens laid out.  These contained mainly decorative plants although near, the walls, fruit trees were planted in neat rows.  Even in his garden, Brahe reproduced images of stars in the shapes of the flower beds."

"One of the garden has been reconstructed.  Here, as in all four of the original gardens, there is a pavilion.  This has been painted with the same colors as seen on copper etchings from Tycho's days.  Now as then, brick and mussel shell have been used to enhance the color."

-From a posted sign on Hven. 


One of the "stars".


Another "star".

"The cellar of the servants' quarters - the dungeon"

"The cellar was discovered in 1747 when the land was being plowed and a horse's hoof broke through the fragile vault.  The thinly vaulted cellar belonged to the servants' quarters - a two-story building twinning the print-shop which also belonged to the estate.  Both buildings were, to a large extent, smaller copies of the palace itself."

"The cellar has traditionally been known as the dungeon although it has not been proven that it served such a purpose.  It is however known that Brahe treated the farmers of Hven very harshly and that troublesome ones were imprisoned in a cellar."

"Brahe made enemies not only among the farmers but also in higher places.  He neglected certain duties that he had in connection with his title.  Finally most of the financial support he had been receiving from the king was withdrawn.  Brahe felt ill-treated and left the island never to return."

-From a posted sign on Hven.


Entrance to the cellar.


The cellar itself!