Copenhagen – A Happy and Tolerant Capital
Copenhagen is a relatively young city, but its heritage is rich. Here you will find many interesting museums, art galleries, theaters, and beautiful historic buildings. The lovely colorful houses with pediments (such as the ones along the Nyhavn Canal) date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when wealthy merchants lived in them. But the story of this beautiful city goes even further back in time, to the early 11th century.
Back then this place was just a fishermen’s village that gradually evolved into a town called Havn (port). The Danish name of the capital still keeps this old word in its structure: Kobenhavn. The year which is considered to mark the actual foundation of the city is 1167, when Bishop Absalon of Roskilde noticed the strategic location of the settlement and decided to build a castle on a small island called Slotsholmen (The Castle Islet).
The edifice was the first in a series of successful castles built on the same site, and it lasted for only two centuries. Today known as Christiansborg Palace, the majestic building incorporates three different architectural styles, each one dating to a specific time in Denmark’s history. The showground (1738-46) features a baroque style, the chapel (1826) is neoclassical, and the main part of the construction (completed in 1928) is Neo-baroque. It is the only building in the world to house all three main branches of a country’s government: the legislative, executive and judicial powers.
Copenhagen became the capital city of the Kingdom of Denmark in 1443, and the centuries that followed were marked by growth and development. Some of the city’s most beautiful buildings were erected under the rule of King Christian IV who loved arts and started a building spree in the capital. One of his many remarkable projects was the Round Tower (Rundetårn), which was an astronomical observatory, and which affords sweeping views of the city.
Other works of Christian IV include the Rosenborg Castle, a Danish Renaissance beauty that now holds the crown jewels, the Stock Exchange Building (Børsen) with its tower that represents the intertwined tails of four dragons, the incredibly well preserved Kastellet star fortress, the Trinitatis Church, and more. Unfortunately, this flourishing period of architectural development was followed by a number of catastrophic events: a devastating bubonic plague epidemic, followed by a series of huge fires and finally a terrible British bombardment in 1807.
After this tragic period in the capital’s history was over, a new era of cultural development began. Names like Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Andersen and Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, emerged and shaped people’s minds. Contemporary Copenhagen is a wonderful place to be, with friendly inhabitants and a general atmosphere of individualism and tolerance. Tourists always find themselves fascinated with this place and they often want to return here.
Among the numerous attractions and things to see in the city we should also mention the baroque Church of Our Savior (Vor Frelsers Kirke) with its unique spiraling tower, the City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen), the Little Mermaid statue in the harbor off Langelinie promenade, and the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
- Interestingly enough, it is not usual for people to leave tips here. Gratuities are often included in the bill (even for taxis), but if you feel exceptionally satisfied with the service you get, you can leave a 10 percent tip – it will be very much appreciated, though never expected.
- The weather here is typical of an island, meaning that it is not stable. However, you have more chances to have a great time in Copenhagen if you come here in June-August.
- You can find hotels of all categories here, but if you want a truly unique experience, you should go for something special, such as Hotel D’Angleterre (one of the world’s first deluxe hotels), or the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.